KENNETT SQUARE—Passersby at the corner of State and South Broad Streets over the past few weeks may have noticed a giant festive snowglobe in the entrance to the American Legion.
The snowglobe, decorated by artist Eva Reatiga with help from other members of Casa Guanajuato, features a scene with children hitting a traditional seven-pointed piñata and shares the story of the traditional Mexican Christmas celebration called Las Posadas.
“Las Posadas is an important Mexican Christmas tradition,” says Casa Guanajuato president and Mighty Writers Kennett-El Futuro Program Director Sara Dickens-Trillo. “Las Posadas means ‘the inns,’ and it’s a community celebration remembering the journey of Mary and Joseph searching for lodging. The celebration includes a candle-lit procession around town singing a traditional song, as well as other Christmas carols, and breaking piñatas. Children usually also receive a bag with an orange and candy,” she says.
“While a traditional celebration of Las Posadas wasn’t possible this year due to COVID restrictions, Casa Guanajuato wanted to share this tradition with the community in some way,” says Bo Wright, Executive Director of Historic Kennett Square. “And as we at HKS were planning the various elements of Christmas in Kennett, we wanted to highlight some of the diverse holiday traditions in our community. We came up with the idea of the giant snowglobe and were delighted to be able to partner with Casa Guanajuato for this installation.”
Featuring a piñata in the snowglobe was important for artist Eva Reatiga, who says that many people don’t know the background of this tradition. Although piñatas come in many shapes and sizes now, the traditional piñata was shaped like a star with seven points representing the seven deadly sins. The blindfold represents faith, she says, and the candy and other treats that rain down from inside the broken piñata symbolize the riches of heaven.
Those who look closely at the installation will also be able to see some of the treats traditionally hidden in a piñata.
“HKS Christmas in Kennett décor this year included rooftop lighting down South Union Street, Christmas trees, signage, festive painted windows, and the snowglobe selfie station. Together with expanded tree lighting down South Broad Street, the Casa Guanajuato snowglobe has added enormously to the festive spirit in Kennett this year,” says Wright. Wright looks forward to developing this partnership with Casa Guanajuato, with hopes that next year it will be safe to celebrate Las Posadas in its traditional format with community members gathering to walk through town, sing, and share the bounty from piñatas with children.
The snowglobe will come down this week, but those who would like to join in celebrating another Mexican holiday tradition can find a special wreath-shaped cake, called Rosca de Reyes (three kings cake), at local bakeries including Alondra’s Bakery at 113 W State Street, Deisy’sCake Shop at 315 W. State Street, Panadería Lara at 625 East Cypress Street, and Panadería Aztecaat 629 East Cypress Street in Kennett Square. This cake, with a small surprise baked inside, is a traditional treat eaten on Epiphany, El Dia de los Reyes, January 6th—the day that the Three Wise Men visited and brought gifts for baby Jesus.
Casa Guanajuato is a “small but mighty” local organization that works to bring people from various Hispanic countries together and to showcase and pass on their culture and traditions. In addition to organizing a Day of the Dead celebration every November and a “unity day” on Mexican Independence Day each September, Casa Guanajuato also organizes and runs Kennett Square’s Cinco de Mayo festival, which has come to be regarded as one of the region’s premier Cinco de Mayo celebrations.
“Casa Guanajuato members are very appreciative and proud that Historic Kennett invites us to participate in Down Town Kennett's amazing Christmas decorations,” says Dickens-Trillo. “This really means a lot to our members to be recognized for all of our hard work to showcase our culture to Kennett and surrounding areas with pride and joy.”