|Mateo Romero's painting that hangs in our home, Kiva baked bread, and an evergreen bough from the dancers.|
I was honored to be invited to the Santa Domingo Feast Day. My friend and I drove there and we were welcomed into a woman's home who lives on the plaza of the Santa Domingo Pueblo. I have been to many pueblos in New Mexico. But never on a feast day. If you have never been to a pueblo, go.
My first was the Taos Pueblo before they built their casino. Recently I went to Acoma Pueblo which has an incredible tour, and one is taken up to the top of a mesa where you can see half the state. I included a link below that explains Pueblo culture.
|Cameras are not allowed, so I pulled these from google images.|
When we were parking our car we saw two men carrying a large bucket of water out to horses and cows. The streets were lined with aspen tree branches stuck into the red, dusty clay ground. The smell of chili cooking and bread baking was everywhere. I could hear the beating of a drum as we walked into an adobe house past two stoves with big pots of chili cooking. Food was everywhere, the table was set for 12. Many women greeted us from the kitchen. Through a very small window I could see color moving outside.
|A Kiva oven.|
Frankly, I came to see the dancers. We were told to eat, so we sat down. Homemade bread baked in a kiva wood fired oven was right in front of me. I ate chili made with red chilis and beef, mopping it up with this delicious bread. We chatted with two women who had come up from Acoma pueblo. Elders and children came and went. The smell of every house cooking with windows and doors open is incredible.
I have included this NYTimes article, they say it better than I:
Finally we were able to sit our on the porch and watch the dancers. You know I am former costumer. So what the dancers were wearing was so important for me to see. We have a painting in our entry hall by Mateo Romero of a "Deer Dancer." I walk by it 20 times a day. In front of me in the street on the plaza were 100's of dancers. The painting had come to life. I was so moved for numerous reasons that I cried. The women were wearing black dresses with turquoise "mantias" on their heads. Embroidered underskirts, belts, moccasins, and feathers by the hundreds moved to the beat of a single drum. Young and old all danced together. Time didn't matter. I was watching a ceremonial dance that was hundreds of years old. Tradition persevered. I tried to ask questions, but was shushed as those things were not for me to know. I respected that, and sat in silence... mesmerized.
A 3rd type of dancers were the "Koshas", which I had only seen in art form. They are dressed in black and white, and these had black polkadots on white body paint. They had corn husks that seemed to grow out of the tops of their heads. They danced at the same time as the others. Weaving in an out fixing hair, belts, and various parts of dress that came undone or moved during the dance. They did what I did for years: "Wardrobe, coming in!" They are considered clowns who are able to go back and forth between the living and the dead. I saw a show of them by Roxanne Swentzell, and now they too had gone from art to life.
|Roxanne Swentzell's sculpture.|
|A turkey wing, spirit doll from Taos Pueblo made of sage, bread that is all gone.|
No cameras are allowed I cannot show you anything but Google images. You will just have to come and see for yourself. I promise you will not be disappointed.
Thanks for reading. Each day is a gift. Open now.