December 16th marks the beginning of Las Posadas, the holiday tradition celebrated in many Latin American countries. The nine-day celebration symbolizes the search for shelter by Mary and Joseph and culminates on December 24, Noche Buena, meaning "Holy Night."
The story of Las Posadas was featured in one of the Disney Studio's most underrated animated feature films, The Three Caballeros, released in 1944. It is a simple, brief, yet incredibly beautiful sequence told through a series of pastel-styled illustrations conceived by the film's art director, the renowned Mary Blair. The images would distinctly foreshadow Blair's conceptual designs for It's a Small World some twenty years later.
Likely due to its brevity, the Las Posadas sequence remains one of Disney's least recognized Christmas-related efforts. It is a more quiet and sincere segment of an otherwise high energy production, and truly showcases the unique talents of one of Disney's most notable legends.