Las Posadas on Long Island

Last week, at a house on a Riverhead cul-de-sac, Ed and Emily Wiegand appeared to be hosting the quintessential Christmas party: Their spacious home was festively decorated with lights, a Christmas tree and porcelain statues of Mary and Joseph. At their front door, they greeted old friends, neighbors and fellow congregants from St. John the Evangelist Church, bearing gifts of food and drink.

But this was not a Christmas party, in the usual sense. The Wiegands opened their home to Latinos and other members of the community alike for Las Posadas. Spanish for "the inns," it's a ritual traditionally celebrated in Latin nations- from Dec. 16 to Christmas Eve.

Each night of the observance, a small congregation meets at the home of a fellow parishioner to commemorate Mary's and Joseph's trials as they searched for an inn in Bethlehem before Jesus' birth.

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