UT Campus Events + Entertainment spent Tuesday evening celebrating its first posada, a Latin American tradition that reenacts Mary and Joseph’s journey before Jesus was born.
Nayeli Sanchez, Mexican American Culture Committee chair, said the committee created the event to help students feel at home while on campus and to inform students about Hispanic culture. She said the event provides activities that Latinx students would usually do in December.
“Hopefully, this livens up their spirits a little bit, and they’re like, ‘Hey, let’s finish strong,’” undeclared sophomore Sanchez said.
Sanchez said a posada typically happens outside as people walk to houses around a neighborhood singing songs, and everyone gathers to feast at the end of the journey. To host the event on campus, Jasmine Jimenez, the publicity officer for the Mexican American Culture Committee, decided to host the posada outside Gregory Gym Plaza.
The committee turned tables on their sides and covered them with paper and felt to make them resemble doors. Event coordinator Melissa Melendez then led groups of students on a journey to each “door.” She narrated and acted the story about Mary and Joseph while leading everyone in songs.
In the pack of students following Melendez, chemistry freshman Mariela Jimenez and international relations freshmen Ximena Garcia held LED tea lights and sang along. They said the celebration was familiar for them.
Garcia and Jimenez said they used to walk around the neighborhood with their families and knock on actual doors. Jimenez said the posada was a tradition that signaled Christmas was coming, and having one on campus felt welcoming.
“(The posada) was something to bring joy to us and really know what the meaning of Christmas is to our culture,” Jimenez said. “With such a diverse campus, it’s nice to have this little piece of home — a little piece of you here on campus.”
Biomedical engineering freshman Nethra Venkatayogi walked along Speedway with biomedical engineering freshman Adi Ojha and came upon the event. Venkatayogi said she knew Hispanic culture was involved with Christianity, but she had never heard of a posada before.
Ojha said he was excited to partake in the posada to step away from schoolwork. He said he also wanted to try a tamale for the first time.
“(It’s) a break from the study grind, and you learn something new,” Ojha said. “It’s nice and refreshing.”