I have a Mexican-American MC who was born and raised on the East Coast (U.S.) but visits her grandparents who came from Mexico (who are currently living in the American southwest) every Christmas between the ages of 5-11 years old. Time period is mid-to-late 90s through mid-2000s.
I did some research both on LD and on Google and came up with the following links, but I'm not sure how accurate some of the assertions on the sites are. One comes from Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Las_Posadas as well as another one: http://hispanic-culture-online.com/las-posadas.html I had some questions concerning them:
1. Are the processions looking for shelter mostly made of kids, or adults as well? Does it always end in a church on the last day to pray, or do people sometimes also use a house that's been chosen beforehand? I read that Las Posadas lasts for more than one day, so what do people typically do for each of those days? Is there a house chosen for the procession to go to at the end of every night, or is it just for the one night at the end?
2. Are there major differences between how Las Posadas is done in Mexico versus how a Mexican-American community might have them? MC's family lives in California (haven't chosen an exact city/area yet), and from other things I've read, there seems to be regional differences but I'm not sure.
3. Another link (can't find it now) says that children are sometimes given a poinsettia to carry. Is that true? When they go to the chosen house for shelter, are the piñatas made of clay as the Wiki article says, or other things? What is usually inside of them?
4. I recall from a previous thread that things like Mexican hot chocolate and tamales are usually given out around this time of year, as well as there being a cake with a hidden little Baby Jesus, but are there other major foods given/eaten around Christmas/New Year's as well?
5. I'm looking more for anecdotes from people who have celebrated Las Posadas more than anything else. Any traditions you/your neighborhood/your family do/used to do, I'd be more than happy to hear them! It doesn't matter if you live(d) in California or not, I'm open to hearing about a variety of experiences and differences. :) </lj_cut>
Research: Las Posadas, Las Posadas procession, celebrating Las Posadas, Christmas/New Year's in Mexico, Mexican-American Christmas traditions