7th Annual Las Posadas Celebration Glows on TAMIU Campus Dec. 2

Las Posadas, a favorite Mexican Christmastime celebration, will glow throughout the Texas A&M International University campus with candlelight, food, folkloric dances and regional holiday songs Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. in the Recital Hall of the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts. (photo)

The event, free and open to the public, will mark the beginning of the Christmas season and will feature the University's Ballet Folklórico, a group that often serves as TAMIU's cultural ambassador with its performances of authentic Mexican dance choreography. Tickets for the event may be obtained by contacting TAMIU's Department of Fine and Performing Arts at 326-2654 or by visiting the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts, 217B.

Organized by the Ballet Folklórico and the Student Government Association, the Las Posadas Celebration has become a signature TAMIU and Laredo event presenting a re-creation of a Mexican posada.

"Las Posadas is a tradition in Mexico that occurs during the nine nights before Christmas," explained Gabriela Mendoza-García, Ballet Folklórico director. "According to tradition, a group of families gathers at a home and re-enacts Mary and Joseph's search for lodging in Bethlehem."

During the re-enactment, a procession is usually formed in which the families have prepared El Misterio, a small platform on which the figures of the pilgrims are placed, she explained.

"The families proceed through the streets with lighted candles singing the litany until they reach the house of the 'host' family of that evening. One verse of the posada is sung outside, at which time the people request a place to rest," Mendoza-García said, "Then, the people inside the house sing a verse in response, saying that the strangers should go away. The groups continue singing the songs alternatively until the 'host' group recognizes the pilgrims, opens the door, and invites them into the house."

Audience members at this year's Las Posadas can expect to enjoy colorful dances from the states of Nuevo León, Veracruz, Michoacán, Chiapas, and Guadalajara.

Mendoza-García said dances were choreographed after conducting meticulous research into Mexican folkloric dances and borrowing steps learned from dance masters at international folkloric dance conferences.

"If you come to Las Posadas, you can expect to see the heart of Mexico come to life with its full splendor," Mendoza-García said.

Guest performers at this year's event include The TAMIU Ballet Folklórico Juvenil, the TAMIU Guitar ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Gilberto Soto; the S.P.A.R.X. Dance Team, under the direction of Imelda Chapa; and the Zaffirini Elementary Ballet Folklórico, directed by Patricia Lucio.

Mendoza-García said that Las Posadas offers a perfect opportunity for adults and children alike to observe a long-cherished holiday celebration.

"If you are new to Laredo, this event provides a great opportunity to observe this beautiful Mexican tradition celebrated here," Mendoza-García said.

For further information, please contact the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at 326-2654, e-mail Mendoza-García at gabym@tamiu.edu or visit offices located in the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts, 217B. University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu