...family, friends, home and other tidbits of a blessed life

Sunday, December 18, 2011

And then there is Christmas in Santa Fe...

I am sure you already know that I love, love, LOVE Santa Fe, NM.
I finally figured out why this last trip.
It's old like Europe
It's got history.
It's fun.
It's artsy fartsy.
It's me.

We try to stop at Bobcat Bites on the Old Santa Fe Highway on our way into town.
The do have the best green chile burgers on the planet@

We got settled in and made it to the plaza in time for Christmas at the Palace.

Like so many things in Santa Fe, Christmas is celebrated just a little differently. The combination of Western, Hispanic and Native American traditions blend into a holiday celebration not duplicated anywhere else. A couple of years ago, my good friend from Houston shared her story of Santa Fe magic at Christmas
Each December, the halls of the Palace of the Governors are decked with boughs of holly, ornaments of pottery and tin, and decorations of historical significance. Even the holiday season is a time of learning with hands-on activities in the Palace Press and Activity Room; traditional Native American, Spanish and Anglo music in the Courtyard; and refreshments of Christmas cookies and cider.  

And there are the fireplaces; the smell of pinion is always in the air:

 Shopping.. oh the shopping!
 See the cute antique pedestal holding the antique camera? So cool.

 Yes, this puppy is made of bubble wrap!


 St. Francis Cathedral
St. Francis Cathedral (pictured right) is located just one block east of the historic Santa Fe Plaza at the end of San Francisco Street. Dedicated in 1886, the Cathedral is a blend of adobe, French-Romanesque and modern architectural styles. It is also one of the city’s most recognized, photographed and beloved landmarks.

The sixth church built on the site, it was designed by French architects, carved by Italian stonemasons, and built by local New Mexico residents. The Cathedral design is in sharp contrast to the adobe pueblo style architecture that so clearly defines Santa Fe and all of the Southwest.

The main structure is the Conquistadora Chapel, built of adobe in 1714, which houses La Conquistadora, Our Lady of Conquering Love, the country’s oldest Madonna, dating from 1625. The building was commissioned by Archbishop Lamy, whose crypt lies within the Cathedral.

In 1967, the Blessed Sacrament Chapel was added in the modern style. The many stunning stained glass windows were imported from France, and the stone for the building was brought in from 15 miles away, from what is now the small community of Lamy, New Mexico.

In July 2005, Pope Benedict XVI elevated the Cathedral to a basilica (meaning “royal hall”), calling it the “cradle of Catholicism” of the Southwest. As the first church in New Mexico history to receive this designation, it is now officially known as Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

See the pretty "farolitos" on the top of the El Dorado hotel? You say Farolitos?
Candles in Bags - Known locally as farolitos, these small bags filled with sand and lit from within by votive candles are Northern New Mexico's version of traditional Christmas decorations. They can be found all around the city outlining buildings and, in certain areas on Xmas eve, they are in trees, on walls, along sidewalks, etc. Luminarias are small bonfires said to have lit the way for the 3 Wise Men to Mary and the baby Jesus but are less common. These terms are interchangeable within the region. In Albuquerque the terms are reversed.

And then there is music.. Gerry Carthy playing his four string guitar with inlaid turquoise at the Hilton.

If you ever wonder why blue doors, gates and windows often rule and appear ubiquitous in Santa Fe, New Mexico, then here is the rest of the story as best as I can tell it. First, blue is blue is blue is not always the case. Why? Blue in New Mexico can be the sky, turquoise, or a variation on the many layers and shades available at the time of painting. Second, blue works with the earth colors of adobe in unique ways.
Regardless of how much one loves blue skies or turquoise, there is another folklore reason for the appearance of blue on the doors, gates and windows of Santa Fe style homes. Many say practice of painting doors blue began with the Spanish settlers and their belief and attempts to ward off evil spirits. There are others who believe that Our Lady of Guadalupe wore a blue robe and hence the door painting represented a special following or devotion to her powers. And then of course there are the "sky" people who believe the sky determines so much of what happens in New Mexico.
For many today, the blue doors and gates and windows are more like a welcome smile on the home. Whether, the reason is folklore or spiritual or just our 310 days of blue sky, our blue doors, gates and windows are true symbols of a Santa Fe lifestyle and culture.

Feliz Navidad! 
Thank you for dropping in for the daily bit of Christmas here on Creative Journeys. Only a week to go!


LambAround said...

This looks pretty fun. I really don't take advantage of living in Albuquerque!

Barbara F. said...

I enjoyed my tour this morning of Christmas in Santa Fe. A very beautiful city. I love it without ever having been there. Happy holidays to you and your family. xo

The French Hutch said...

Your tour makes realize I should go there! Never been but my sister has been several times and she loves it. I enjoyed the tour, great photos.
Merry Christmas.......

The French Hutch

Lizabeth @ Infuse With Liz said...

OH my! Thank-you for the tour and pictures! I think it's marvelous to see different cultures and how Christmas is celebrated. 310 days of the year with sunshine!! Sounds like a dream to me!! I love all the window pictures and especially liked those big white bells!! I want those!! I love the blue/green color and would be addicted to it immediately if I lived there. Thanks for sharing this!

Sue said...

Marlis, I am a northern New Mexico native and I can tell you firsthand that I would rather be in my home state than any other for Christmas! The sky really is magical. It can snow and the next day, the sun is shining and the snow is melting away. The air is crisp and fragrant with the aroma of burning piñon wood. Farolitos and luminarias line the roads. Oh, you have made me long for the warm glow of it all! Merry, Merry to you! Sue

Lana Kim White Austin said...

I have always wanted to go....and now I MUST go....it looks like I'll love everything about it...the smells/tastes/sounds/sights....those blue doors and adobe colors....it looks magical!!!!!!




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