December 26, 2005

New Mexico on Christmas

I always find it interesting to explore different observations of the Christian holidays - especially Christmas. In Mexico and the bordering U.S. states there is a wonderful blending of Indian, Spanish, European observations to make up local traditions.

Our first day in New Mexico we had the opportunity to spend Christmas Eve in old town Albaquerque. The town was lit up with luminarias (which I'm sure I am spelling incorrectly). They are brown paper bags filled with sand and a candle. You can see them on the tops of buildings, along walkways and following the curves of adobe walls.

Another interesting tradition we observed is the Buffalo Dance at a Santa Fe Pueblo. The men of the tribe were dressed in identical costumes that seemed to blend that old and new traditions. Sixty men had deer antlers on their heads resting in a covering of evergreens. Their faces were painted black and their hands white. Each had turtle shells on the back of their legs that clunked. It was a dance tht followed the beat of a drum and they marched in place. Although there was not a lot of action by our standard image of Indian dance they chanted hauntingly as they moved in psynch.

I'll upload images when I return. Forgot the camera cable.