by Kevin McGarry
Las Posadas, a traditional reenactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for lodging in Bethlehem, is a holiday tradition that occurs all over Latin America each December. The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP) hosts this program at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park and Casa de la Guerra every year. This year, the program was scheduled on the traditional date that Posadas begins throughout Mexico, December 16.
SBTHP’s annual Posadas reflects what this tradition might have looked like in the Presidio neighborhood in the early 1800s. The singing procession begins at the Presidio Chapel, goes up and down State Street stopping outside participating businesses and then ends with a performance and reception at Casa de la Guerra. By coming together to sing and walk together in unity, Una Noche de Las Posadas is a special annual tribute to Santa Barbara’s people, traditions and history.
This is the second year that the Los Agaves restaurant donated their delicious food for the reception. SBTHP thanks Carlos Luna (owner of Los Agaves) for his continued generosity. The El Coro de Real leader, musician Luis Moreno, did a wonderful job again this year, adding two new songs to the choir’s repertoire and leading the singing peregrinos (pilgrims) in their procession to Casa de la Guerra. Thank you to him and to the other members of El Coro. The 2016 Posadas would not have happened without SBTHP’s committed volunteers: Judy Pearce, Suzi and Rocky Bellman, Jim Garcia, Dr. Paul Mori, Paul McGarry, Christina and Arlene Miguel and the Goodfield family. SBTHP also thanks The Towbes Foundation, Debby and Roger Aceves, David and Louise Borgatello, and Keith J. Mautino for sponsoring Una Noche de Las Posadas.
For more photos from this year’s Las Posadas by Dr. Paul Mori visit our Flickr album here.
Kevin McGarry is the Director of Programs at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.