Miami-Dade County

Mexican Miami: South Florida’s surging immigrant group shines at Christmas

Mexican-Americans in Homestead (and Paco, right) portray Biblical Christmas characters during street processions known as Las Posadas.
Mexican-Americans in Homestead (and Paco, right) portray Biblical Christmas characters during street processions known as Las Posadas. Mexican-American Council

South Florida’s best known Christmas traditions involve food. La caja china. Hallacas. But one of the richest customs today is all about street theater — led by a cool donkey named Paco — and it reflects the increasingly important role Mexicans play in the region.

Las posadas are the heart of the Mexican Navidad celebration. Earlier this month, crowds singing carols known as villancicos follow couples dressed as the biblical Mary and Joseph in nightly processions.

In Spanish, posada means an inn, and las posadas recreate Mary’s search for a place to give birth to Jesus. During one procession last week through downtown Homestead, home to Miami-Dade County’s largest Mexican community, Mary and Paco got turned away from shops and restaurants until they came to a locked courtyard on Krome Avenue.

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Tim Padgett is WLRN's Americas editor. He can be reached at tpadgett@miamiherald.com

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