“The nine Mexican Posadas are a series of dances, candlelit processions, recitals and songs held over the nine nights before Christmas, They tell the story of the Holy Family (the pregnant Mary and Joseph) traveling out of Galilee to Judea to try to reach Bethlehem, On the last night, Joseph once again sings his desperate refrain to an empty door–‘the night is cold and dark and the wind blows hard’–before May accidentally reveals that beneath their travel-worn cloaks she is Queen of Heaven and she is welcomed into a stable by the animals. Then a dance of honour is held and a ‘pinata’ is demolished by a blindfold young lady wielding a cane to shower sweets over the celebrants.”
Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.