Taos Pueblo’s Sacred Blue Lake

A family at Taos Pueblo in the 1930s.

Taos is the furthest north of the pueblos along the Rio Grande. The settlement began around 1200-1250 A.D. During Francisco Vazquez de Coronado’s expedition in 1540, Spanish explorers first encountered the multi-story dwellings, synonymous with New Mexico’s northernmost Pueblo. The dwellings are now world-famous. In addition to their unique building, Taos Pueblo is the only New Mexico pueblo that regularly incorporates the use of white in their attire.

The Return of Blue Lake

Behind the world-famous multi-storied pueblo sits the Taos Mountains and the Pueblo’s sacred Blue Lake. This week Taos Pueblo is closed for the Blue Lake ceremony. In 1906 the US Congress designated an area of the Rocky Mountains that included part of the Taos Mountains as a national forest. The new federal “land-grab” law included Blue Lake. For 64 years the Pueblo protested to get its land back. Fortunately, in 1970 about 48,000 acres were returned to the pueblo including Blue Lake.

San Geronimo

San Geronimo is the patron saint of Taos Pueblo. September 30th is his Catholic feast day. Each year the festivities includes a foot race around the pueblo. During this event the Catholic community of the city of Taos gathers at the Pueblo for the feast day celebration. With the aftermath of the Pueblo Revolt in 1696 Don Diego de Vargas found the shell of the burned out church. The religious structure converted into a corral was in use. A new building in 1726 became the Mission Church of San Geronimo. During the 19th century the church moved to the center of the pueblo where it’s located today.

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