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Frankie Maldonado participates in a blessing of the food before eating at ‘La Posada’ in the Thomas building on Dec. 4, 2017. ‘La Posada’ is a holiday celebrated in Mexico. (Daniel Avalos/The Collegian)

‘La Posada’ makes campus ‘feel more inclusive’

Dishes of traditional Mexican food, hymns of praise heard and dancing seen throughout the hallways marked this year’s “La Posada” event, held Monday at the Cross Cultural and Gender Center.

“La Posada” (inn or shelter) is a traditional event held during the holiday season that  commemorates the religious story of Mary and Joseph, journeying from town to town in search of shelter so that a pregnant Mary could rest and give birth.

During the holiday season, Latinos travel from house to house re-enacting Joseph and Mary’s search for shelter. They sing at each home, much like caroling at Christmas time, and participants ask the “innkeepers” at each house if they can provide shelter. Joseph and Mary are turned away each time until they finally come to the “stable” that was offered to them and where Jesus was born.

The “La Posada” event included traditional Latin dishes, such as tamales and posole, singing, dancing and some folklore of the culture. Flameless candles were also passed out to honor and pray for those suffering from mental, emotional or physical stress or disability during this holiday season.

“I feel like this event is important because Latinos are from all different countries, but events like this remind us that, even though we are from different areas, we can still be reminded of our native land,” said Ivan Cevallos, event coordinator for the Cross Cultural and Gender Center.

Monserrath Sanchez, another event coordinator, said, “‘Las Posadas’ is meant to expose and educate students and the Fresno community [of] the various cultures that are on the Fresno State campus.”

Sanchez said the event has been a tradition ever since the center was called the Central Valley Cultural Heritage Institute. He estimates the event has been on campus for at least 10 years.

Maria Guzman, a Chicano and liberal studies student at Fresno State, said she thinks events like these are a good idea because “they help Latinos feel more recognized and feel more inclusive about things going on around campus.”

On Wednesday a similar event called “La Pastorela” will take place at the Satellite Student Union at 7 p.m. It is another form of a shepherd’s tale that is more of an educational representation about current issues in the Latino culture.