Joyeuses fêtes from Taos Pueblo, NM.
Denise, Robert and their beautiful family welcomed us in their home, fed us and really took good care of us while preparing for the feast, the multiple ceremonies and the dances. I won't forget those precious days spent in their company, i lost track of time and was just trying to appreciate every second in their presence. Merci, merci!
Despite the cold snowing day the crowd was growing fast and eventually everyone gathered around the numerous piles of wood to enjoy the celebration of this solstice transition, the great spirit and Christmas in this magnificent and sacred environment. After the procession of the Virgin Mary the tribal members finally lit the fires and it was quite a spectacle, the wind created some sort of smoke twisters behind the gigantic bonfires and everyone was simply in awe. There is something very spiritual at Taos even for the hardcore atheist, the weight of history and the respect of those ancestral traditions had honestly quite an impact on me.
It took a long time for the fires to fade away and for the people to leave but we all went back inside the cosy shop for the meal. They had prepared some homemade bison tamales (freshly killed) along with plenty of food and dessert, what a feast! It was an honor to be invited here, thanks to Manny and Denise and i can't be more thankful to have shared those precious hours with you all.
On the 25th we went back to the pueblo to help Denise bring her posole to the shop and attend the ceremony of the Deer/Buffalo Dance. No cameras were allowed on that day, which does make sense; you have to be there to live the moment and appreciate the cultural heritage and the performance of the dancers! There is no words to describe what i've seen and felt there, the music, the costumes, choreography and willpower of this nation is beyond what i imagined.
I would recommend anyone to go buy their famous tamales if you visit the pueblo. Their locally-grown blue corn is amazing, it is a native plant that Robert farms (amongst other grains) in the reservation with the help of his daughters, undoubtedly the best i ever tasted and it makes for some tasty good popcorn too :)