Depiction of Las Fiestas de Taos. Courtesy/Millicent Rogers Museum
Las Fiestas de Taos News:
This year marks the third time Las Fiestas de Taos has been canceled in the last 100 years.
However, culture and tradition still continue. They reside within art galleries and living rooms, museums and classrooms, time-honored places of worship, and restaurants.
They are embedded in the land, the adobe structures, and the hearts and minds of a resilient people. The Millicent Rogers Museum is honored to share and celebrate the traditions so important to the community.
Most every year, on the third weekend of July, Taos Plaza is transformed into a place that celebrates culture.
A Mass, fiesta queen and court, coronation and procession open the event. Community and visiting family who live out of state fill the plaza.
Elders bring folding chairs to sit, listen, eat and visit. Music, dancing, and smells of food fill the air. There are parades on two successive days down the Paseo del Pueblo.
This is Las Fiestas de Taos.
The Fiestas include celebratory traditions passed from generation to generation as a way of preserving the rich heritage and cultural way of life that has developed in Taos over the last four centuries. This inclusive culture is unique to Taos, encompassing Pueblo and Plains Indians, Mexicanos, Spanish explorers, conquistadores, French fur trappers and American mountain men.
Las Fiestas de Taos honors two saints. The first day is dedicated to Saint James, (Spanish: Santiago), who is the patron saint of Spain. The second day is always dedicated to St. Anne, (Santa Ana) the mother of the Blessed Mother of Jesus. The celebration of their feast days in our community has been due to the special regard in which Santiago and Santa Ana are held by the Spanish.
Santiago, St. James the Apostle, by tradition is said to have brought Christianity to Spain. As the patron saint of Spain, he was also the patron saint of Spanish conquistadores and caballeros. Santa Ana, the Mother of Mary, is esteemed by many women as the perfect example of motherhood.
In 1948, several Anglo artists in Taos created a special commemoration of the Taos Fiestas. This mural sized set of four panels of caricatures of Taos personalities is in the collection of the Museum (MRM#2001.005.001A,B,C,D) Gifted to the museum by Saul Harborg in the 1970s.
The panels were painted in Rebecca James’ garage by Rebecca James, Dorothy Brett, Barbara Latham and Tom Benrimo. They had been aided by Frank Waters, Taos writer, and his wife, Janey; Dorothy Benrimo, designer and silversmith; and Bob Gribbroeck, Hollywood animation cartoon artist.