One of Tucson's oldest Christmas events was celebrated last night at Carrillo K-5 Magnet School downtown.

About 40 students in the extended-day program walked through the Barrio Viejo neighborhood, just south of the Tucson Convention Center, in the school's 75th Las Posadas.

"Posada" is the Spanish word for inn. And every year, students re-enact the pilgrimage of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem. The children, dressed as angels and peasants and carrying yuccas and crooks, sing traditional Spanish songs of those seeking shelter on a journey. They are turned away repeatedly at homes along the way as they seek refuge, until one finally relents and allows them entry.

Marguerite Collier, a music teacher, started the event. At the time, children were not allowed to speak Spanish at school, but Collier wanted to help them celebrate their Mexican heritage and share it with the community. Some families have had generations of children participate.