Southwestern Christmas/NYE traditions?
November 1, 2021 3:57 PM   Subscribe

My husband and I just moved to New Mexico, and are doing our best to learn the history and be respectful of the amazing cultural heritage here. We would love to learn about Southwestern or New Mexico-specific Christmas traditions, ceremonies, events, and foods -- not to appropriate them but just to recognize them and to better understand and appreciate our new home.
posted by egeanin to Society & Culture (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Best answer: The best thing in the world are the farolitos (also called lumnarias, which blob's link discusses). They are gorgeous and I don't believe it's considered appropriative to decorate with them regardless of your cultural heritage. (Caveat: I lived in NM as a child so maybe that has changed)

Gosh I miss them so much.
posted by contrapositive at 4:10 PM on November 1, 2021 [6 favorites]

Best answer: TAMALES!!!!!!!!!! (You can make them but it's easier and more delicious to buy them unless you are already a tamale expert; I am not sure where you live but you should have ample tamale-buying opportunities in your future.)
posted by Countess Sandwich at 4:31 PM on November 1, 2021 [6 favorites]

Best answer: I have the best tamale hook up if you are in the Albuquerque area- Mujeres en Accion does catering out of a Catholic Church on Broadway. Mail me if you want their number. I don’t think they have much of any web presence.

You can do luminaria tours on Christmas Eve where they will drive you around the places with elaborate displays (Old Town and Barelas in Albuquerque).

Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Feast Day is in early/mid December (looks like the weekend of the 11th this year) and some of the Pueblos will open to the public for traditional dances and celebration. It is traditional that you may be invited (and should accept) into people’s homes and/or to share their food. Don’t feel self conscious, or like you are intruding or appropriating! Go with an open heart and mind, they do this to share their culture with others.

On Christmas Eve, if you go to the actual neighborhoods around Old Town (not the shopping area) or in Barelas, or in the similar neighborhoods if you aren’t in Albuquerque, and walk around you will be invited into (and you should accept!) people’s parties off the street, for posole and other refreshments. Again, this is not just being friendly, it is part of a tradition to “welcome strangers” on Christmas Eve, because they may be weary travelers looking for refuge.
posted by Missense Mutation at 5:07 PM on November 1, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Advice: order tamales early. You should already be asking your new neighbours and coworkers for recommendations and preparing to order them.
posted by betweenthebars at 5:09 PM on November 1, 2021 [4 favorites]

Born in northern NM in 1970. I remember farolitos kindly, and don't believe it would be appropriative (or perceived as so) to put them up, regardless of your background.

Also, I remember posole being a big New Year's traditional thing, on a par with the roles pickled herring and black-eyed peas occupy in other cultures.

Green/red chili is delightful, but isn't AFAIK a holiday thing. I've eaten "Christmas" chili in May plenty of times.

A glorious, perfect, N-trans-meta-sticky candy apple from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is also a once-a-year holiday tradition that stands out in my mind, though that is likely hyperlocal to me and my immediate family...
posted by sourcequench at 6:55 PM on November 1, 2021

Pumpkin rolls and biscochitos.
posted by ellenaim at 9:47 PM on November 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

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