SALT LAKE CITY – “The Star of Bethlehem” (La Estrella de Belén), a Christmas story with a twist that is a cultural tradition with strong roots in Mexico that has spread throughout other the countries, will be presented locally on Dec. 9.
The traditional story of Jesus’ birth is told in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. “The Star of Bethlehem” includes the Biblical elements of the archangel, shepherds, wise men, Mary, Joseph and the birth of Jesus, but adds a comic turn with the appearance of the devil, who advises the shepherds to not go to meet Jesus in his manger.
The bilingual play is being sponsored by the Mexican consulate in Salt Lake City.
“The idea is to promote community events,” said Jose V. Borjon, the Mexican consul. “We thought that a Christmas story/pastorela would be a great activity to promote our culture.”
In Mexico there is a great tradition of having these types of presentations, “which are always a very entertaining and fun activity at which all families can be together and have a good time,” Borjon said.
In general the Christmas stories/pastorelas have a similar plot line – they are adventures that the shepherds undertake during the journey to Bethlehem, and Lucifer tries to block their journey.
“This is done in a very festive way in which the public gets involved and participates in the narration” of the play, Borjon said.
The Christmas story/pastorela will be presented at the Centro Civico Mexicano by the Grupo Internacional de Actores Independientes GIDAI (International Independent Actors’ Group).
GIDAI is a group of Hispanic actors from Los Angeles that promotes the culture through theatrical representations, presenting traditional, religious and historical events that promote the Hispanic culture in the United Sates.
“We thought that in Utah, with the large Hispanic community, this type of event will be great to celebrate the season,” Borjon said. “This is also a way that families can enjoy together an activity.”
The University of Utah’s Department of Latin-American Studies is also supporting this event, which is free and open to all.
“Take advantage of this unique opportunity,” Borjon urged. “We hope that people welcome this event and it becomes a yearly tradition.”
WHAT: The Star of Bethlehem (Pastorela La Estrella de Belén)
WHEN: 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9
WHERE: Centro Civico Mexicano, 155 South 600 West, Salt Lake City
Free and open to all.
For information, call 801-521-8502 ext. 124 or 109.