San Antonio has been throwing a Christmas party for years. It gets bigger every
winter. The town starts twinkling right after Thanksgiving and sparkles until the
New Year. The pinnacle of the celebration is a candlelight procession, Las Posadas.
The pageant takes place in early December on a Sunday at dusk along the famed Riverwalk,
which is parallel to both sides of the San Antonio River. In 1966 San Antonio's Conservation
Society began hosting costumed carolers who reenact the Holy Family's search for
shelter, which ends in La Villita Plaza. The community has participated for
over 200 years in merrymaking in the square, which includes music, pinatas, hot chocolate
and bunuelas (Mexican cookies).
Other seasonal bright spots are a dazzling show "A Lone Star Christmas"
at Fiesta Texas and "Holiday Light Magic" at Sea World where
electric bulbs illuminate a mile and a half long road and depict Yuletide scenes,
such as "The Twelve Days of Christmas." The San Antonio Museum of Art
hosts "Bazaar Sabado" offering folk art and crafts, which were fashioned
South of the Border. The San Antonio Symphony performs a "Christmas Serenade."
|Barge on San Antonio river (Credit: Edwin Fancher)
Visitors who think that
the city in all its gaiety has forgotten the meaning of
Christmas need only visit the San Fernando Cathedral the Saturday evening
before Las Posadas. "The Serenta to the Virgin" is such a popular event
that many worshipers must listen to
the service outside in the Main Plaza. On Sunday
it is just as difficult to get into the church in Mission San Jose where mariachis
and white-robed Matachine dancers are as much a part of the noon Mass as is prayer.
Now San Antonio's Convent
ion and Visitors Bureau and Department of Arts and Cultural
Affairs are extending the fun by publicizing its year-round attractions, which include
a cultural bus that stops at 12 of the city's major museums and historic sites. To
receive a free brochure "Art is Part of Our Heart," telephone 800-447-3372.
If you're looking for the best place to stay while visiting this special city,
choose La Mansion del Rio. The hotel faces the Riverwalk and some of the rooms
look out on the
river. The architecture is mission-style and the decor is lively
Mexican folk art. Candles and song sheets for Las Posadas are distributed in La Mansion's
courtyard. To take a ride on the river, just cross the little bridge behind the hotel
and wait for
La Mansion del Rio, 112 College Street, San Antonio, TX 78205. Tel. 210-226-0389,