Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Fiestas de Taos 2013, part 2

So I promised everyone a recap of this year's Fiestas de Taos and started to write a very long blog post. Halfway through I was a bit frustrated because I could not seem to convey the flavor...the pageantry...the colors...the atmosphere.  My solution?  To recap via the photos I took.  Here goes:

Fiestas reminded me of a summer carnival, or street fair, or festival anywhere in the states...with a New Mexican vibe.  Vendor booths line the historic Taos Plaza and many different types of food is sold.  You will find all of the "street fair food" favorites.  You know, those items that we guiltily devour at these type of events...funnel cakes and roasted corn, hamburgers & hot dogs, ribbon fries & fried vegetables, cotton candy & popcorn. Fiestas add traditional Northern New Mexican foods like green chile, fajitas, Indian tacos, burritos, chile rellenos and the only-in-New Mexico...Frito pies.  Many of these dishes have the same name as the more well known Mexican food, but the chiles, beans and spices are different (Check out my blog Red or Green? for additional information)

When I was a child we used to visit San Diego, California for a few weeks each summer. My paternal grandmother lived there and those weeks were filled with visits to the beach, Sea World, the Zoo, baseball games and...always...a trip to Mexico for a day of shopping. My mom loved to walk into each shop, browse the merchandise and then bargain for the best price for anything she found interesting.  The shopping at Fiestas brought me right back to those summer days.  Lots of items...nothing you really need...but watching the people (especially the children) shop, buy and then carry their new treasures around is a wonderful experience.

There is tons of music at Fiestas...a different band every hour...and many of the musicians play for free as a way of supporting the cause.  Fiestas is one of the most important events to the locals here in Taos, especially to the Spanish and Hispanic culture.  I heard a woman describe it as "as important as Thanksgiving and Christmas". Native Taosenos who have moved away make it a point to come back for Fiestas each year and when you wander through the Plaza during the weekend you can see entire families together listening to the music, eating the food, shopping and celebrating just being together.  There is such a sense of tradition...of belonging...of family that I think is the real importance of Fiestas. The theme for this year's Taos Fiestas is "Welcome! Our community is your home".  I think this sums up the "feel"  of Fiestas.
this year's REINA ANGELICA RODRIGUES  (photo fiestas de taos website)

To native Taosenos, nothing may be more important than having a female relative elected to the Royal Court. This court is comprised of a reina (queen) and her princesas (princesses).  The girls are elected after tryouts which include a talent piece, a written essay, answering impromptu questions and submitting a design for their costume among other criteria. Las Fiestas de Taos Royal Court spends the year representing Taos at Fiestas throughout New Mexico.  For most families having a daughter elected to the court is one of the greatest honors in their lifetime.  The Taos News quoted one woman, who had a number of princesas in the family throughout the years and finally had a granddaughter elected reina, as saying "Finally, una reina en la familia!"  (Finally, a queen in the family!)

So...Fiestas de Taos: food, music, shopping, royal court, crowds, loud, tradition, history. Que Vivan las Fiestas de Taos! (Long live the Fiestas de Taos!)

my best,
July 24th , 2013

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