Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Tribal Events Incorporate Pueblo, Catholic Rituals.

Byline: Poco de Todo RICHARD MAHLER For the Journal

It's Christmas! Much to the delight of eager children and their beleaguered parents, Dec. 25 has arrived. For northern New Mexicans, this is a day to rejoice and give particular thanks for the many blessings of living in this remarkable place.

Each year during the holidays I marvel anew at the diverse array of sights, sounds and activities available to us. From the enactment of Las Posadas to the lighting of farolitos, los nortenos are very fortunate in being able to enjoy so many distinctly New Mexican pleasures of the season.

Often overlooked among the evening concerts, midnight Masses, and other in-town attractions are the age-old rituals carried out between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day at many of our local pueblos. These events are indeed special. I can think of no place in the United States where so many Native American ceremonies related to Christmas are so easily accessible to so many people. Although all pueblo dances are religious ceremonies, not staged performances, at this time of year they sometimes combine traditional Native religious beliefs and customs with those brought to New Mexico by Catholic missionaries more than 400 years ago. …

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