From 1953 to 2023: The Enduring Legacy of ‘Las Posadas’ in Old Town San Diego

In the heart of Old Town San Diego, a cherished Christmas tradition has been bringing joy and cultural significance to the community for nearly seven decades. The tradition of hosting “Las Posadas” in this historic neighborhood began in 1953, and it continues to thrive, with the 65th Annual Las Posadas set to take place on Friday, December 8, 2023, at the picturesque Heritage County Park. This article explores the origins and significance of this event while inviting readers to participate in the upcoming 2023 celebration.

A Mexican Christmas Tradition in Old Town:

In 1953, the residents and merchants of Old Town San Diego embarked on a unique and heartwarming Christmas celebration rooted in Mexican tradition. This festive event was conceived as a community project, led by a committee of dedicated merchants and civic leaders, all eager to share the rich heritage of Las Posadas with the local community.

Las Posadas is a beloved Mexican Christmas tradition that reenacts the arduous journey of Joseph and Mary in search of lodging in Bethlehem before the birth of Jesus. In Old Town, this tradition took on a special significance as it provided a way to both celebrate the holiday season and honor the Mexican cultural heritage that is deeply ingrained in the area’s history.

The Heartwarming Posadas Ritual:

The heart of the Las Posadas celebration in Old Town involved a touching reenactment of Joseph and Mary’s journey. A group of children, dressed as Mary and Joseph, would embark on a nightly procession through Old Town, knocking on doors and asking for a night’s lodging, just as the biblical couple had done. Each night, they would be turned away at several stops, mirroring the challenges faced by Joseph and Mary in their search for shelter.

The Posada processions, which began at 5:30 pm each evening, captured the spirit of empathy and generosity as the community came together to portray the events of that fateful night. As the children made their rounds, residents and shopkeepers played their roles by denying the young couple’s requests, creating a poignant atmosphere that drew participants and onlookers alike into the heart of the story.

A Joyous Conclusion:

The Las Posadas tradition in Old Town San Diego extended through December 23, providing a wonderful opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate the holiday season in a unique and meaningful way. On the final evening of the Posadas, the children gathered at one of the neighborhood’s restaurants for a Piñata party, adding an extra layer of festivity to the occasion. This joyful event allowed everyone to join in the celebration, breaking open piñatas filled with treats and spreading laughter and cheer.

The 65th Annual Las Posadas in 2023:

Join us in rekindling a cherished tradition as we proudly present the 65th Annual Las Posadas in Old Town San Diego on Friday, December 8, 2023, at the picturesque Heritage County Park. The festivities will commence at 7:00 pm, offering neighbors and friends a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in a time-honored celebration that echoes with centuries-old Mexican traditions and the warmth of the holiday season.

Presented in collaboration by the Old Town San Diego Chamber of Commerce, Old Town Trolley Tours, and the Mormon Battalion Historic Site, this event reverberates with community spirit and historical reverence, offering an immersive glimpse into the journey of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem. As we look forward to this milestone 65th Annual Las Posadas celebration, we invite all to join us in honoring the past, celebrating the present, and forging new memories that will carry the spirit of Las Posadas forward for generations to come.

Hours – Friday, December 8, 7pm

Phone – (619) 228-9340

Address – Heritage County Park, 2454 Heritage Park Row, San Diego, CA 92110