St. Teresa Catholic Church will have its “Las Mananitas for Our Lady of Guadalupe, a special holiday event in the Latin American Catholic Community, at 7 p.m. Monday. Everyone is invited.

Children’s procession, mass start Latino community holiday celebrations

Part of the fun of the holiday season is not just the comfort of the familiar, but also discovering others’ traditions.

The Latin American Catholic Community will soon experience several of its festive days starting with “Las Mananitas” for Our Lady of Guadalupe.

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Springfield’s St. Teresa Catholic Church, 1827 N. Limestone St., will have its children’s procession and mass at 7 tonight. The public is invited.

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe commemorates the appearance of Jesus’ mother, Mary, in a vision to a young Mexican boy named Juan Diego in 1531.

“Las Mananitas” is a traditional Mexican birthday song done as part of the event, and will include around 80 children doing a serenade of poems and each will carry a rose to the church alter; roses are associated with Mary’s appearance to Juan Diego.

In keeping with the Mexican tradition, Guadalupe songs will be sung and a folklore group from Dayton will perform a dance. After the service, a variety of traditional Mexican foods will be served including champurrado, a thick chocolate-based drink, and bunuelos, a crispy pastry covered in syrup and sugar.

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“It’s a beautiful event,” said Mary Alice Ordonez, Assistant Director of Hispanic Ministry for Dayton and North. “We hope the American people would like to see some of our holiday traditions.”

According to Ordonez, about 99 percent of Springfield’s Latino population is Mexican.

The seasonal celebrations will continue at 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17 with Las Posadas, the beginning of nine nights of rituals leading up to Christmas.

Posadas translates to inns, signifying Mary and Joseph’s search for an inn to stay for Jesus to be born.

This tradition includes nightly rituals such as praying to the rosary, singing advent songs relating to Mary and Joseph, holiday carols and food. Many local people celebrate by visiting different homes each night.

Celebrating for nine nights is symbolic of the nine months Mary carried Jesus.

Things don’t end at Christmas. On Jan. 6, El Dia de Reyes, or Thee Kings Day, is a commemoration of the wise men, or Magi, who brought Jesus gifts upon his birth. This Mexican tradition resembles Christmas in that children receive gifts.

El Dia de Reyes is exclusive to the local Hispanic community.

“These are very joyful traditions,” Ordonez said. “When you are away from your country you can miss traditions and this is a chance to recreate a bit of your home country.”

For more information on these events, contact St. Teresa’s at 937-342-8861.

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