Introducing a new tradition

MONROE — Petra Duenas was a young girl when she walked through her neighborhood in Colima, Mexico, singing with friends and family for someone to give them shelter.

House by house, their neighbors sang back, telling them to move along.

But Duenas’ neighbors were not being rude — they were partaking in the traditional Las Posadas celebration, which is meant to symbolize the Biblical trials of Mary and Joseph as they searched for a place for their child to be born.

Although Duenas was only 9 years old when her family moved to America, the Posada tradition remains close to her heart. After singing at all the houses on her street, her family and neighbors always ended up at the church — and the church always let them in.

On Saturday, the Hispanic community of Monroe celebrated Las Posadas in the commons at Park Place Middle School. About 100 people gathered outside and sang to be let in. Inside, they danced, broke open pinatas and dined on traditional food and drink.

“This brings back memories,” said Duenas, 43, sitting with her husband, Enrique, and her 13-year-old daughter, Vannessa.

The celebration was planned by Northwest Latinos Unidos and the Monroe Parks and Recreation Department. It was the first large community Posada event in Monroe. Cultural events such as Posada — which begins Dec. 16 and ends Dec. 24 — are important for the city’s growing Hispanic population, said Margie Rodriguez, an assistant principal in Monroe who recently became the first Hispanic to be elected to the City Council.

“They’re beginning to feel like this is a place they can live,” Rodriguez said. “They can build their lives here.”

Traditional foods served during the event included pozole, a soup typically made from dried corn, meat, chilie and other ingredients; ponche caliente, a hot tea with pieces of fruit in the cup; and horchata, a drink made from ground rice often served with cinnamon.

After food had been served, people crowded near the front of the commons to watch traditional folk dancing. The dancers circled each other, the women twirling their large, colorful dresses and the men stomping with their hands behind their backs.

Alberto Robles, president of Latinos Unidos in Monroe, hopes the local Posada celebration becomes an annual event in Monroe.

“We get Christmas presents,” Robles said. “But the most important thing is having baby Jesus in your heart.”

Reporter Scott Pesznecker: 425-339-3436 or

Talk to us

More in Local News

The site of a new development along May Creek Road next to the entrance of Wallace Falls State Park on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021 in Gold Bar, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Gold Bar considers home parking permits near Wallace Falls

In the past, parking spilled from Wallace Falls State Park into town. Decals could avoid conflicts.

Oak Harbor legal staff quits over ‘compromised’ relationships

The city attorney and the senior assistant city attorney, who is also the public records officer, both resigned.

The scene where police from a King County agency shot a man at the end of a car chase Monday afternoon in a Safeway parking lot in Snohomish on September, 27, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Police shoot murder suspect outside Safeway in Clearview

The driver allegedly reversed into an unmarked police vehicle. Officers opened fire. He’s expected to live.

The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office released this image of a possible suspect in a homicide at a gas station at 148th Street SW and Highway 99 near Lynnwood. (Snohomish County Sheriff's Office) 20210926
Detectives investigate homicide at gas station near Lynnwood

One person was killed and a suspect was at large, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said.

Zach Graham stands in front of a newly restored Three Fingers Lookout. (Friends of Three Fingers Lookout)
Volunteers give makeover to precarious Three Fingers Lookout

Up high, with cliffs on all sides, the 90-year-old hut got much-needed new windows, shutters and paint.

Arlington son, 19, charged with slaying his father

Nicholi Melum had been yelling at his son, Garner, when he was killed.

Connie L. Bigelow at her store Miniatures & More in Edmonds on Tuesday. (Janice Podsada / The Herald)
Woman pleads guilty to wire fraud in Edmonds doll store fire

Connie Bigelow tried to collect insurance after setting fire to her business. Now she has to pay restitution.

Crews demolish the strip mall at 10th and Broadway, near the Washington State University Everett campus, on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 in Everett, Washington. Crews started tearing down a strip mall Monday on property that will soon expand Everett Community College’s footprint across Broadway. The Cascade Learning Resource Center project will total 65,000 square feet. It will expand the college’s tutoring resources as well as house the library, writing center and other academic support programs. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Demolition begins to make way for EvCC learning center

The 65,000-square-foot project will expand the college’s tutoring resources. It’s set to open in April 2023.

Marysville man shot in hand during apparent drug robbery

At least two suspects were being sought, and police are seeking surveillance video.

Most Read