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San Diego, Tijuana Residents Have Cross-Border Christmas Celebration

Evening Edition

A bi-national Christmas celebration took place this weekend at the US-Mexico border. People gathered at Border Field State Park and Playas de Tijuana. KPBS Fronteras reporter Jean Guerrero has the story.

A binational Christmas celebration took place this weekend at the U.S.-Mexico border, as human rights and faith-based groups commemorated a biblical story.

People struggled to see one another through the steel lattice of the fence at Border Field State Park and Playas de Tijuana during Posada sin Fronteras, or Posada Without Borders, on Saturday. A posada is a Latin American celebration of Joseph and Mary’s search for lodging ahead of Jesus’s birth.

A young boy can be seen in Tijuana through the U.S.-Mexico border fence, Dec. 19, 2015.

Audio

Aired 12/21/15

People gathered at Border Field State Park and Playas de Tijuana for a binational posada, a Latin American celebration of Joseph and Mary's search for lodging ahead of Jesus's birth.

Residents of both Tijuana and San Diego County sang Christmas carols and listened to speeches about the biblical story.

“(Joseph and Mary) made this journey during a dangerous time through a dangerous territory and they were successful. And because of their courage, and because of their faith, the whole world was changed and given new hope," said Rev. Art Cribbs, director of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity.

Cribbs said the biblical story reflects the plight of many refugees currently arriving from Syria and other countries.

Angelica Trujillo, 39, was one of the people who attended the event. She migrated to the United States from the violence-plagued Mexican state of Guerrero. The posada let her see her sisters for the first time in 20 years.

"We even cried right now, seeing each other," she said. "It's a very beautiful thing."

U.S. Customs and Border Protection only allows people to approach the fence for special events like the posada.

Pedro Rios of the American Friends Service Committee said this was the 22nd annual Posada Without Borders and that the event changed a lot over the years. Increased security concerns have meant more restrictions.

“We used to share candy back and forth," he said. "We used to share tamales, champurrado, which is a traditional Mexican drink. We’re no longer able to do that.”

He said the posada is meant to make people reflect on the meaning of Christmas and to encourage everyone to welcome refugees rather than reject them.

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