The Night of Las Posadas

Illustrated by Tomie dePaola
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Paperback
$8.99 US
On sale Sep 24, 2001 | 32 Pages | 978-0-698-11901-7
Tomie dePaola's glorious paintings are as luminous as the farolitos that light up on the Plaza in Santa Fe for the procession of Las Posadas, the tradition in which Mary and Joseph go from door to door seeking shelter at the inn on Christmas Eve.This year Sister Angie, who is always in charge of the clebration, has to stay home with the flu, and Lupe and Roberto, who are to play Mary and Joseph, get caught in a snowstorm. But a man and a woman no one knows arrive in time to take their place in the procession and then mysteriously disappear at the end before they can be thanked.That night we witness a Christian miracle, for when Sister Angie goes to the cathedral and kneels before the statue of Mary and Jospeh, wet footprints from the snow lead up to the statue.
Introduction:Las Posadas, an old Spanish custom which celebrates Mary and Joseph seeking shelter in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, stems from the word posada, meaning "inn." It began in Spain and came to the New Wold, first to Mexico and then to the American Southwest. In Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I have imagined my story, luminarios or faralitos, as they are called in New Mexico, line the edges of the plaza in the historical district of the city. These candles placed in paper bags light the way for Mary and Joseph, the procession of candle bearers and others singing in traditional Spanish songs.Along the way, the couple representing Mary and Joseph knock on doors, five in all. Each time a "devil" appears and tries to keep them out of the "inn." Everyone gathered in the Plaza books the "devil," and the procession moves around the plaza until they reach the Palace of Governors. There the gates are thrown open to a courtyard where everyone gathers and celebrates to coming of the baby Jesus.A Note From the Author:In Spain , as in Mexico, Las Posadas is celebrated for nine days. Families walk in processions, knocking at doors, but only on Christmas Eve does a door open, everyone enters and has hot chocolate and cookies to commemorate the expected birth of the Holy Child. In San Antonio, Texas, a procession of boats, with the couple representing Mary and Joseph sitting in the first boat followed by boats filled with people singing, winds down the river that runs through the center of the city.In Santa Fe, the procession is usually made up of people from Santa Cruz, a small village north of the city. It is a great honor to be chosen to play Mary and Joseph. When they knock on the doors, a song is sung each time asking for Mary and Joseph to be let in. But the "devil" appears with an answering song to keep them out. It is very dramatic and even amusing as the crowd filling the square boo and hiss at the "devil."Finally when everyone has gathered in the courtyard, as in Spain and Mexico, hot chocolate and cookies are served.

Tomie dePaola was born in Meriden, Connecticut, in 1934, to a family of Irish and Italian background. His determination to create books for children led to a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and an MFA from the California College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland, California. 

His particular way with color, line, detail, and design have earned him many of the most prestigious awards in his field, among them a Caldecott Honor Award for Strega Nona, the Smithsonian Medal, the Kerlan Award from the University of Minnesota for his "singular attainment in children's literature," the Catholic Library Association's Regina Medal for his "continued distinguished contribution," and the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion. He was also the 1990 United States nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for illustration, and received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for lifetime contribution to children's literature in 2011.

DePaola has published almost 200 children's books in 15 different countries over the past 30 years. Among his most well-known titles are the Strega Nona series, 26 Fairmount Avenue, and The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush.

DePaola lives in an interesting house in New Hampshire with his four dogs. His studio is in a large renovated 200-year-old barn.

View titles by Tomie dePaola

About

Tomie dePaola's glorious paintings are as luminous as the farolitos that light up on the Plaza in Santa Fe for the procession of Las Posadas, the tradition in which Mary and Joseph go from door to door seeking shelter at the inn on Christmas Eve.This year Sister Angie, who is always in charge of the clebration, has to stay home with the flu, and Lupe and Roberto, who are to play Mary and Joseph, get caught in a snowstorm. But a man and a woman no one knows arrive in time to take their place in the procession and then mysteriously disappear at the end before they can be thanked.That night we witness a Christian miracle, for when Sister Angie goes to the cathedral and kneels before the statue of Mary and Jospeh, wet footprints from the snow lead up to the statue.

Excerpt

Introduction:Las Posadas, an old Spanish custom which celebrates Mary and Joseph seeking shelter in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, stems from the word posada, meaning "inn." It began in Spain and came to the New Wold, first to Mexico and then to the American Southwest. In Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I have imagined my story, luminarios or faralitos, as they are called in New Mexico, line the edges of the plaza in the historical district of the city. These candles placed in paper bags light the way for Mary and Joseph, the procession of candle bearers and others singing in traditional Spanish songs.Along the way, the couple representing Mary and Joseph knock on doors, five in all. Each time a "devil" appears and tries to keep them out of the "inn." Everyone gathered in the Plaza books the "devil," and the procession moves around the plaza until they reach the Palace of Governors. There the gates are thrown open to a courtyard where everyone gathers and celebrates to coming of the baby Jesus.A Note From the Author:In Spain , as in Mexico, Las Posadas is celebrated for nine days. Families walk in processions, knocking at doors, but only on Christmas Eve does a door open, everyone enters and has hot chocolate and cookies to commemorate the expected birth of the Holy Child. In San Antonio, Texas, a procession of boats, with the couple representing Mary and Joseph sitting in the first boat followed by boats filled with people singing, winds down the river that runs through the center of the city.In Santa Fe, the procession is usually made up of people from Santa Cruz, a small village north of the city. It is a great honor to be chosen to play Mary and Joseph. When they knock on the doors, a song is sung each time asking for Mary and Joseph to be let in. But the "devil" appears with an answering song to keep them out. It is very dramatic and even amusing as the crowd filling the square boo and hiss at the "devil."Finally when everyone has gathered in the courtyard, as in Spain and Mexico, hot chocolate and cookies are served.

Author

Tomie dePaola was born in Meriden, Connecticut, in 1934, to a family of Irish and Italian background. His determination to create books for children led to a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and an MFA from the California College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland, California. 

His particular way with color, line, detail, and design have earned him many of the most prestigious awards in his field, among them a Caldecott Honor Award for Strega Nona, the Smithsonian Medal, the Kerlan Award from the University of Minnesota for his "singular attainment in children's literature," the Catholic Library Association's Regina Medal for his "continued distinguished contribution," and the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion. He was also the 1990 United States nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for illustration, and received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for lifetime contribution to children's literature in 2011.

DePaola has published almost 200 children's books in 15 different countries over the past 30 years. Among his most well-known titles are the Strega Nona series, 26 Fairmount Avenue, and The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush.

DePaola lives in an interesting house in New Hampshire with his four dogs. His studio is in a large renovated 200-year-old barn.

View titles by Tomie dePaola