Las Posadas procession honors biblical story

2014-07-22T00:00:00Z 2014-07-22T18:36:59Z Las Posadas procession honors biblical storyBy Tom Beal Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

We’re defining Tucson in 100 objects. The daily series began April 20. Follow along at tucson.com/100objects

The figures of a Nativity scene can be found throughout the Christian world.

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The annual procession called Las Posadas, in which children go door-to-door seeking a place for Mary and Joseph to stay, has been enacted in Mexico since the 1500s.

In Tucson, the longest-running Las Posadas tradition is at Carrillo K-5 Magnet School, inaugurated by school teacher Marguerite Collier in 1937.

Collier wanted to celebrate the traditions of her students at a time when they were forbidden to speak Spanish in the classroom.

This re-enactment of the New Testament story of Jesus Christ’s birth has survived many changes in school leadership and complaints to the Tucson Unified School District that it is a religious activity, unsuited for public school. It has survived as a voluntary, after-school cultural activity that does not use school district money.

Each December, Carrillo students, some costumed and angel-winged, walk through the streets of Barrio El Hoyo, the historic Tucson neighborhood south of downtown, where their school is located.

They carry candles and sing in Spanish. They seek shelter — room at the inn, or a “posada.”

Contact reporter Tom Beal at tbeal@tucson.com or 573-4158.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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