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Catholic Activity: Los Pastores

The drama of the Birth of Christ, called Los Pastores, is a semi-pagan custom. The early missionaries had to find a way of combining the pagan rites of the Indians of Mexico with Christian doctrine.

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Los Pastores (the shepherds) is enacted once a year at Christmas time. It depicts the Incarnation. The roles of St. Joseph, the Blessed Virgin, the Infant, the three Kings, a good and bad angel, are played by people selected from the community or neighborhood. When the presentation takes place all the people of the village or neighborhood attend in shepherd attire.

Singing and dancing play a great part in the drama. The songs, especially, were introduced by the missionaries for telling the story of the birth of Christ. The people of the village will gather in an open field. Music is furnished for the occasion and food is brought by everyone. The songs of the drama will tell of the birth of Christ, of the coming of the shepherds, and of the coming of the kings. There is also introduced into the drama a scene where the good angel throws the bad angel out and away from the manger. The entire drama will last for about an hour.

After the presentation the people will stay for some time, singing, dancing, and eating. Los Pastores is played as close to Christmas as possible, even on Christmas day itself. It is found among the people who are least educated.

Activity Source: Your Home, A Church in Miniature by Compiled by The Family Life Bureau in the early 1950s, The Neumann Press, Long Prairie, Minnesota, 1994

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