Holiday

GIMME SHELTER This month, as various towns across the state stage Las Posadas processions, in which actors portraying Mary and Joseph reenact the biblical couple’s search for shelter, directors will be challenged with the question of casting. This year McAllen, which hosts the largest production in the state, marks its twentieth annual presentation, which is expected to draw roughly 20,000 people to the downtown area on December 7. As usual, enthusiastic fourteen- to sixteen-year-olds will vie for the coveted roles of the Virgin and her husband. And as in years past, a live burro named Angel will play the part of the donkey. But in San Antonio, where the downtown procession has ended at the San Fernando Cathedral for the past 270 years, folks need a little coaxing. “We ask parishioners of a certain age, people who are younger than thirty, and we usually look for married couples for the parts of Mary and Joseph,” says coordinator Lupita Mandujano, who not only sewed the costumes the actors will be using for this year’s December 15 production but also served as Mary from 1985 to 1990 with her husband, Mario, as Joseph. “The couple becomes famous for one night. Usually they’re honored but shy,” she explains. And the donkey? “Fiberglass on wheels.” (See San Antonio: Points of Interest ; and Elsewhere: Other Events. )

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