Santa Fe Holiday Drama: Las Pastores

A Performance of Las Pastores in Santa Fe.

Throughout the years Santa Fe continues to boast the elements of an era long gone in other parts of the nation during the holiday season. Las Pastores is the tale of the shepherds on their journey to pay homage to the Christ Child. The holiday drama came to the New World in the late 16th century by Spanish missionaries. Oral tradition among families in Mexico and the American Southwest has kept the drama alive.

Different Holiday Productions

In northern New Mexico towns and Indian pueblos the holiday performances of Los Tres Reyes, The Three Kings, and Los Abuelos are celebrated. These ancient dramas have withstood the test of time. Like Las Pastores, these theatrical pieces have been passed down through generations.

Along the Rio Grande

Los Comanches originated along New Mexico’s Rio Grande villages. The Christmas tradition was popular during the 17th and 18th centuries. The Comanche Indians, and sometimes the Kiowas, raided Hispanic villages taking horses and other livestock. They also kidnapped young children as a way of increasing their population. Intertribal clashes had decimated the communities of the Plains Indians.

Cibola County

Los Comanches became a festive affair that brought the community together to keep the memory of the kidnapped children alive. All the young adults participated. The women made costumes of elaborate feather headdresses. The ceremony included a re-enactment of the dances and other activities practiced by the Pueblo Indians along the Rio Grande. Los Comanches continued as a Christmas tradition in many of the villages in Cibola County through the early part of the 20th century.

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