Annual Fiesta de Noche Buena brings festiveness, flair to Edinburg

Xiomara Ramirez, 6, of McAllen performs during the Fiesta de Noche Buena at the Museum of South Texas History on Sunday in Edinburg. Ramirez performs with DanzArt of Pharr. (Delcia Lopez | dlopez@themonitor.com)

COLLEEN DeGUZMAN | STAFF WRITER

Donning traditional Jalisco dresses and traje de charro suits, folklorico performers of all ages and mariachi musicians were easy to spot in their bright outfits at the Museum of South Texas History on Sunday.

With the lobby as their stage and the benches behind the stairs as their changing area, members of the Danzart Centro Dancistico’s passion for performing was aligned with the purpose of the Fiesta de Noche Buena.

Marco Romero, director of Danzart Centro Dancistico, said that his motivation has always been to celebrate Hispanic traditions through dance.

“Our style came from the state of Oaxaca and Guerrero,” said Romero, of Pharr. “Our dances tell stories, and that is what the Hispanic culture is all about. We love storytelling, and there is no better way to do that than through dance. We want to continue the tradition of telling stories from generation to generation.”

This year marks the Fiesta de Noche Buena’s fourth year. The event also featured the Edinburg North mariachi ensemble performing their renditions of holiday songs and included a variety of pop-up shops selling homemade jewelry and calavera art figurines. Though the event was debuted in 2015, this is the second year the afternoon included a posada presentation.

A posada usually refers to celebration in which members of a church travel door-to-door singing the song “Pedir Posada,” which translates to “seeking shelter,” copying the way Mary and Joseph sought a place to rest the night of Christ’s birth.

At the Fiesta de Noche Buena, museum visitors followed tour guides through what they called, “Posada Por Tiempo,” meaning, “a trail through time.” Rene Ballesteros, the programs and events officer for the museum, said posadas are the way Catholic churches celebrate this time of year.

“What I remember reading from history books is that posadas were important because they got people to act in the story of Christianity, and that eventually got them into it,”

Ballesteros said. “Think back one hundred or two hundred years ago when everyone here was a ranching family. They lived so far away from each other. This was the time everyone got together, and it still is.”

The term “noche buena” translates to “good night” in English, but the Spanish phrase also refers to Christmas Eve festivities. It also refers to the bright red poinsettia flowers, known as “Nochebuenas,” which adorned the first floor of the museum.

Ballesteros also noted the importance of remembering the history and culture behind holiday traditions.

“I like looking back at history because it gives you context of today. You see why the Valley is the way it is. Here in the Valley, it’s fun because cultures meet and they clash, and some things get borrowed and some things get made new. We get to see that not only in history, but you see it today.”