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Inspiring and spiritual Las Posadas, a Christmas tradition on Olvera Street

Las Posadas is a longtime Los Angeles tradition on Olvera Street in Los Angeles. The nightly procession, which began on Dec. 16, 2022 is a re-enactment of the journey by Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. The final night is Dec. 24, Christmas Eve.

The procession begins with “angels” holding candles who are followed by statues of Mary and Joseph being carried, and then “shepherds” as they make stops at businesses along the street. The procession is accompanied by live music and traditional Christmas songs sung in Spanish.

An angel pauses for singers along the Las Posadas procession on Olvera Street in Los Angeles Thursday, December 22, 2022. The Las Posadas nightly procession from Dec. 16-23 includes statues of Mary and Joseph being carried making stops at businesses along the street. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Children take turns smashing a piñata at Olvera Street in Los Angeles Thursday, December 22, 2022. The piñata is part of the Las Posadas nightly procession from Dec. 16-23 which includes statues of Mary and Joseph being carried making stops at businesses along the street. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Traditional dance warms up the night at Olvera Street in Los Angeles Thursday, December 22, 2022. The dancers are part of the Las Posadas nightly procession from Dec. 16-23 which includes statues of Mary and Joseph being carried making stops at businesses along the street. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Singers in traditional costume are part of the Las Posadas along Olvera Street in Los Angeles Thursday, December 22, 2022. The Las Posadas nightly procession from Dec. 16-23 includes statues of Mary and Joseph being carried making stops at businesses along the street. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

A pair of angels lead the way for statues of Joseph and Mary along Olvera Street in Los Angeles Thursday, December 22, 2022. The Las Posadas nightly procession from Dec. 16-23 which includes statues of Mary and Joseph being carried making stops at businesses along the street. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Visitors watch the Las Posadas procession along Olvera Street in Los Angeles Thursday, December 22, 2022. The Las Posadas nightly procession from Dec. 16-23 includes statues of Mary and Joseph being carried making stops at businesses along the street. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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Las Posadas, meaning “the inns” in Spanish, refers to the stops along the street for the annual procession here and in Latin American countries. Its deeper meaning is that of the cultural re-enactment of the Mary and Joseph’s nativity journey. The procession is seen as a devotional prayer — a walking prayer — and is also called a novena.

Attendees on Dec. 24, however, will see Mary and Joseph re-enactors walk in the procession. At the final stop on Olvera Street a baby Jesus statue will be revealed.

A piñata event for children is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. before the nightly procession. Attendees are treated to a cup of hot champurrado and pan dulce after each of the nightly processions.

Las Posadas has been presented since 1930 on Olvera Street. The procession starts and ends at the Ávila Adobe built in 1818, the oldest standing residence in the city of Los Angeles.

The event is presented by the Olvera Street Merchants Association Foundation. www.olveraevents.com/

Olvera Street, 845 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles.

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