Posada Song Lyrics and Translation

Canto Para Pedir Posada

Mexican children reenact the nativity
••• Mexican children reenact the nativity. © Suzanne Barbezat

In the Mexican Christmas tradition known as Las Posadas, participants re-enact Mary and Joseph's search for shelter in Bethlehem on each of the nine nights leading up to Christmas. The song known as "Canto Para Pedir Posada" is a vital part of the tradition. The title means "song to ask for shelter." and it recreates an imagined conversation between Joseph and an innkeeper.

The event begins with a procession through the streets to the home of the family hosting the posada.

The participants usually carry lit candles or lanterns and sing Mexican Christmas carols as they walk through the streets of the neighborhood. Outside the door of the home, the guests begin to sing the traditional song to ask for a place to stay. The verses of the song are sung alternately by those outside and those inside the home. Those outside sing the words of Joseph requesting shelter for the night. The people within respond, singing the part of the innkeeper who says there is no room. Just before the final verse, the door is opened and those outside enter the home while everyone sings the final verse together. Once everyone is inside, depending on local custom and whether the family is very religious, they may pray or have a Bible reading before proceeding with the rest of the festivities which usually include food and drink, breaking piñatas and plenty of candy for the children.

Here are the lyrics and an English translation of the traditional posada song.

 The verses that are sung by the people requesting lodging (outside the doors of the home) appear in italics.

En el nombre del cielo
os pido posada,
pues no puede andar
mi esposa amada.

Aquí no es mesón
sigan adelante,
yo no puedo abrir,
no sea algún tunante.

No seas inhumano,
tenos caridad,
que el Dios de los cielos
te lo premiará.

Ya se pueden ir
y no molestar
porque si me enfado
los voy a apalear.

Venimos rendidos
desde Nazaret,
yo soy carpintero
de nombre José.

No me importa el nombre,
déjenme dormir,
pues ya les digo
que no hemos de abrir.

Posada te pide,
amado casero
por sólo una noche
la Reina del Cielo.

Pues si es una Reina
quien lo solicita
¿Cómo es que de noche,
anda tan solita?

Mi esposa es María.
es Reina del Cielo,
y madre va a ser
del Divino Verbo.

¿Eres tu José?
¿Tu esposa es María?
Entren, peregrinos,
no los conocía.

Dios pague señores
vuestra caridad,
y que os colme el cielo
de felicidad.

Dichosa la casa
que abriga este día
a la Virgen Pura
la hermosa María.

In the name of heaven
I ask you for shelter,
for my beloved wife
can go no farther.

This is not an inn
Get on with you,
I can not open the door,
you might be a rogue.

Do not be inhuman,
Show some charity,
God in heaven
will reward you.

You may go now
and don't bother us anymore
because if I get angry
I will beat you.

We are worn out
all the way from Nazareth,
I am a carpenter
named Joseph.

Never mind your name,
Let me sleep,
I've already told you
We won't open the door.

We request lodging,
dear innkeeper,
for only one night
for the Queen of Heaven.

If she is a queen
who is asking
why is it that she's out at night,
wandering so alone

My wife is Mary.
she is the Queen of Heaven,
she will be mother
to the Divine Word.

Is that you Joseph?
Your wife is Mary?
Enter pilgrims
I didn't recognize you.

May the Lord reward you
for your charity,
and may the sky be filled
with happiness.

Happy home,
harboring on this day
the pure virgin,
the beautiful Mary.

At this point in the song, the door is opened and those outside enter as all sing the final verse:

Entren santos peregrinos, peregrinos,
reciban este rincón
no de esta pobre morada
sino de mi corazón.
Esta noche es de alegría
de gusto y de regocijo
porque hospedaremos aquí
a la Madre de Dios Hijo.
Enter holy pilgrims, pilgrims
receive this corner
not this poor dwelling
but my heart.
Tonight is for joy,
for pleasure and rejoicing
for tonight we will give lodging
to the Mother of God the Son.