Though our state is known for Deserts, tumbleweeds, and open ranges, there are still signs of civilization. Our state is known for having green or red chilis, hanging on our front porches. In this Land of Enchantment, we have our Christmas traditions like the rest of the country. However, ours are just a bit different.
When we pick a Christmas tree, we usually choose the decorations first. We usually decorate our Christmas trees with small chili pepper shaped and miniture Native American pots as ornaments. The smell of pinon wood burning in our fireplaces, gives us a sence of belonging to the land. One of the most popular traditions is the decoration of our houses with Luminarias, though in Northern New Mexico they are called Farolitos.
These Luminarias/Farolitos are small sacks with sand and a single candle inside. The flickering lights of the Luminarias/Farolitos, tent to light our way home. Luminarias are placed around our houses, driveways, and walkways. They are ment to show our way home, much like the lights that would show Joseph and Mary, to our front doors. Throughout our state, the Luminarias are a special attraction. Towns all over the state, have there own displays. Some have become so popular that people travel all over the state, just to view the displays. Even some of our businesses have gotten into the spirit of the season, by putting out their own displays.
Inside our homes, there are the decorations of the season. Once inside, a visitor can sence a commitment toward family. The smell of cinnamon, blend with the smell of chili on the stove. Sometimes the smell is of some of our favoriate foods, during the season. Maybe the smell is of Posole stew, pork, Hominy stew, cinnamin and anise flavored cookies, Mexican hot chocolate (spiced with cinnamon), tamales, maybe even our pork with red chili. Though for some tourist, our chili can be a little more spicy then they’re used to. But on cold winter days, these foods can dwell the fear of hypothermia.
Our decorations inside our homes will of course be of the normal Red and Green. A Nativity scene will be somewhere well placed, for the enjoyment of everyone.
Poinsettias will be placed around the house. Reminding us of a legend behind the plant. In the legend, a small boy who has nothing to offer the Christ child for his birthday. Prays at the altar of a church, when his prayers are answered and the “Flower of the Holy Night” appeared before him, now he has a gift to offer. The Poinsettia originates in Mexico and it was brought to the United States in the 1800’s by a man named Dr. Poinsett, thus the name.
During the Christmas season, New Mexicans can be visited by a procession called Las Posadas. This procession is a reanactment of Joseph and Mary going from house to house in Bethlehem, searching for shelter from the cold. At times the local Catholic church will have a play of the same name, about the shephards search for the baby Jesus. In addition, homes can be visited by Christmas carrolers.
We all have our traditions, I’m just happy I could share our traditions, with your family. Merry Christmas!