Culture Shock

Feliz Navidad, Nuevo Mexicanos!

Erin Adair-Hodges
3 min read
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Christmas is a singular holiday for many reasons—presents, food, flying animals—but the reason it’s such a focal point of the year is that the celebration doesn’t just happen on that one day. Retailers would have you believe that the revelry starts approximately the second Tuesday of November, but it’s really this week that marks the beginning of the holiday. New Mexico has its own special blend of traditions, alternately old, weird and made-up. Even if you celebrate Hanukkah, are French or think that Santa Claus is a Biblical character, avail yourself of the opportunity to enjoy these very New Mexican Christmas traditions.

Culture Shock Las Posadas ...

Many communities in our state mark the holiday with these costumed processionals. Las Posadas are essentially the re-enacting of Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter, except for that all of the parts (including angels, shepherds and wise men) are played by adorable children wearing sheets and fake beards. After the group is denied entrance to several homes, one home will concede that while there is no room in the inn ( posada ), the soon-to-be Holy Family may sleep in the barn. The procession makes its way there and then there’s a big party with candy. I don’t remember that part of the story, but I’m all for liberal interpretations.

Corrales Historical Society invites you take part in the 10 th annual Las Posadas Re-enactment and Celebration on Monday, Dec. 22, beginning at 7p.m. The festivities start at the Old San Ysidro Church, across from Casa San Ysidro at 966 Old Church Road. Enjoy carols and refreshments, and please bring a nonperishable food item for those less fortunate. For more details, visit

Culture Shock … Y Las Pastorelas

But of course, the Christmas story doesn’t begin or end with the search for a bed. Just think of the poor shepherds, who were minding their own business on a hill in what is now the country of … well, let’s not get in to that. Back to the shepherds, who were watching their flocks by night when a star/angel/Tinkerbell beseeched them to follow its light to behold the new King of Israel. They did, and boy did they have some adventures along the way! Las Pastorelas are the often humorous tales of those trials. On Saturday, Dec. 20, the National Hispanic Cultural Center presents “Dance: Once Upon a Navidad,” a dance version of posadas y pastorelas featuring Steps Dance Academy and guests Ballet Folklórico de Juárez. Tickets range from $16 to $30 and are available through Ticketmaster or the NHCC Box Office (724-4771).
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