Christmas in New Mexico is a celebration of history and tradition - of luminarias and farolitos, snowshoeing at midnight and powder skiing in bright sunshine, Pueblo and Tribal dances and feasts, La Posada, and brightly colored parades on streets, mountains and rivers.
Below are special holiday events in New Mexico.
Albuquerque and Santa Fe: Luminarias and Farolitos
On Christmas Eve, the main plazas of both these cities are decorated with thousands of luminarias. In Santa Fe, cider is served, carols are sung and groups walk to the nearby Cross of the Martyrs.
Christmas Events in Santa Fe
In Santa Fe, families can also enjoy an annual Winter Spanish Market, a special Midnight Mass, and a traditional “Las Posadas” play about Mary and Joseph’s search for a room in Bethlehem. A yearly “Christmas at the Palace” event at the Palace of the Governors combines Hispanic, Anglo, and Native American traditions, and families will find carols, story-telling, native dances, and an appearance by Santa Claus.
Native American Dances
A number of pueblos are located near Santa Fe and Taos, and visitors have an opportunity to attend native dances during the holiday season. A number of traditional dances during the winter months honor animals; some pueblos also have torchlight processions of the Virgin on Christmas Eve, and dances on Christmas Day.
Angel Fire Resort, Si Apache and Taos Ski Valley Torchlight Parades
The dark sky forms a perfect backdrop for the Christmas Eve torchlight parade and the New Year’s Eve torchlight parade and fireworks. Watch or participate in the parade as torches light the way for Santa and Mrs. Claus as fireworks on the mountainside slopes trumpet their grand entrance.
Snowshoe into New Year at Valles Caldera December 31
Ring in the New Year with cross-country skiing an/or snowshoeing under the stars at the Fire and Ice New Year’s Eve Celebration, 6 p.m.–1 a.m., at the Valles Caldera National Preserve west of Los Alamos December 31, 2012.
‘Luminaria Beach Walk & Floating Parade of Lights’ at Elephant Butte Lake State Park
Thousands of luminarias line paths on the beach leading to community-sponsored campsites. The beautiful on-the-water parade begins at dusk.
Canyon Road Christmas Eve Walk (Santa Fe)
Walk up Santa Fe’s Canyon Road, stopping off at bonfires to catch a bit of warmth and perhaps sing a few carols. Businesses and friends along the way offer hot cider, hot chocolate and posole (a traditional Christmas stew).
Christmas in Madrid (Madrid)
Christmas in Madrid started in the 1920s, when Madrid was a mining town run by Oscar Huber. The whole town would decorate homes and businesses with more than 100,000 lights and create a winter wonderland filled with decorations and blinking lights at the ballpark. That tradition continues today with lights and a Christmas Parade.
Las Posadas (statewide)
Under the glow of colored lights strung in trees on the Santa Fe Plaza, several hundred spectators cradled candles Sunday as they watched an annual re-enactment of a story on which the Christian faith is founded.
Victorian Christmas Evening (Silver City)
Reenactors dressed in clothing from the 1880s help visitors celebrate in the style common to Silver City before the turn of the century, and a visit from a frontier Father Christmas is always a favorite for kids and parents alike.
WinterFest (Los Alamos)
WinterFest celebrates the holidays with arts, crafts and music, highlighted by the Holiday Light Parade, when the lights through the middle of town are turned off and the glow from lights on decorated floats and automobiles illuminate the faces of spectators
Check the Calendar of Events at www.newmexico.org/events