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A Christmas Pilgrimage

Christmas Matachine Dancers,

A pilgrimage to the Taos Pueblo for a traditional ceremony gives author Rivvy Neshama a new understanding of Christmas.One year, after family plans fell through, John and I were destined to be home alone for Christmas. We were feeling quite dreary—until we decided to go to Taos, the most magical place we know. We’d never been there in winter but had heard about a Christmas Eve procession at the Taos Pueblo, the ancient village and home of the Taos Indians.Sometimes when we’ve visited reservations, I’ve left in sadness, feeling the sorrow of the people, their history, their land. But when we’ve attended their festivals—the Corn Dance, the Deer Dance—I’ve seen pride, spirit, and the power of tradition.It’s a long drive to Taos from Boulder, about five hours. We played tapes of Robert Mirabal most of the way. He’s a flutist and singer who grew up in the Pueblo, and his songs blend native music with a sound called tribal rock. As we crossed the border leaving Colorado, the drumming on the tape grew mysteriously louder: welcome to New Mexico, “Land of Enchantment.”On Christmas Eve, we parked at the edge of t …

Artwork by Valerie Graves.

About the Author

Rivvy Neshama is a writer, editor, and community organizer who holds degrees in...

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