The Burning of Zozobra (a.k.a. Old Man Gloom)

The Burning of Zozobra (a.k.a. Old Man Gloom)

The Burning of Zozobra (a.k.a. “Old Man Gloom”)

Every year on the Friday before Labor Day, Santa Fe celebrates Fiestas, a tradition dating back to 1712. The Fiestas were originally a solemn remembrance of the reconquest of the City in 1692 by the Spanish, led by Don Diego de Vargas. In 1680, an organized all Pueblo coordinated revolt against Spanish rule over the native Americans’ life, culture, practices, religions and their enslavement culminated in the massacre of approximately 500 Santa Fe residents, a large portion of the population in Santa Fe at that time.

zozobra celebrationBurning of Zozobra. Image by Gabriela Campos, Santa Fe New Mexican via The Associated Press.

The martyred were taken to what is now known as the Cross of the Martyrs. The remaining residents fled south to El Paso where they waited 12 years for Spain to send a small contingent of soldiers, friars and tradesmen to retake the town. While branded as a peaceful reconquest, it was in reality a pay-back massacre of many Pueblo children and parents. A few years ago, protests from the native American people about the white washing of the event forced the dropping of the misleading and false title of the Peaceful Reconquest.

From 1712 until the 1920’s, Fiestas was a very solemn and sad celebration, focused on the revolt and its impact and consequences to the Spanish inhabitants at that time. By the 1920’s, Santa Fe’s art colony was well established. Will Shuster was one of the Cinco Pintores (5 painters) of Santa Fe’s early 20th century art colony. The other 4 were Fremont Ellis, Walter Mruk, Jozef Bakos and Willard Nash. They all agreed that the Fiestas was too dire and gloomy, so at a Fiestas party at his home, Will Shuster unveiled a 6-foot effigy of an old man that was ceremoniously burned in Shuster’s back yard to signify the burning of all the past year’s gloomy thoughts and disappointments. This heralded a new theme for Fiestas. Soon pets were costumed and there was a pet parade, another tradition added to Fiestas on Saturdays after the burning of Zozobra. By mid-20th century, Zozobra had morphed into a 50 foot tall puppet whose arms and head move when he is set ablaze in the evening in front of 50,000 residents and tourists. Through gigantic speakers behind Old Man Gloom, as he is set ablaze by costumed dancers, Zozobra’s moving jaws boom roars of pain and terrible moaning.

The Burning of Zozobra is part of “Fiestas”, a Santa Fe tradition dating back to 1712.

People scream “Let him burn” in excitement as the Old Man Gloom effigy is set ablaze and the scariest moans and groans only get louder and louder! The burning of Zozobra is now a high point of the Fiestas as is the Pet Parade (Desfile de los niños) around the Plaza. Young and old parade with their pets in costumes, every pet from donkeys, dogs and cats to reptiles and parrots.

Fiesta Queen in white with her court.Image by Gabriela Campos, Santa Fe New Mexican via The Associated Press.

Then the historical/hysterical parade (Desfile de la gente) was added for Sundays, a hilariously fun parade around the Plaza making fun of Santa Fe’s politicians, prominent residents, including marching bands, mariachis, floats, and show cars!

Now that these 3 more light-hearted events have been added to Fiestas; the weekend is kid, locals and tourist friendly, an eating extravaganza of local cuisine at food booths on the Plaza and just good vibes. The burning of Zozobra is a must and a fun way to experience our town during its most celebratory weekend. This is one of the many reasons we are known as “The City Different.”

Make The Evening Even Better

Remember to stop by the Inn on the Alameda before or after attending your event for wine, cocktails and dining!

Santa Fe Farmer’s Market

Santa Fe Farmer’s Market

Our region of the country is blessed with a bountiful variety of flavorful foods – and the Santa Fe Farmers Market provides the ideal showcase for all manner of fresh vegetables, fruits, and tasty treats on Saturdays year-round and on Tuesdays May 2nd to November 20th.

farmers-market-produce

Voted one of the “Top Ten Farmers’ Markets” by Sunset Magazine, the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market is one of the oldest, largest, and most successful growers’ markets in the country.

Serving more than 150 farmers and producers in 15 Northern New Mexico counties, the Market brings fresh food, education, and fun to our community and promotes small farms and sustainable agriculture in Northern New Mexico. With specialty shops, local crafts and ad hoc performances this farmers market has provided family-friendly fun for nearly everyone since 1968!

farmers-market-ristras

Hungry for something to do mid-week? In addition to the freshest produce around, the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market will host fun family activities, provide multiple farm-fresh dinner options, and offer a diverse array of programming from Joe Hayes (author and storyteller) to Wise Fool New Mexico (circus entertainment.) And, we are proudly partnering with multiple businesses in the Railyard (including Blue Rain GalleryEVOKE Contemporary and Tai Modern galleries; Second Street Brewery and other restaurants; and the Violet Crown) to bring you the weekly “Wednesday Eve @ The Railyard” event series. July 4th through September 26th, 3pm-6pm.

santa-fe-market-street

The Food

There is nothing like the taste of fresh locally grown produce. The Santa Fe Farmers Market features produce native to the region for locals and visitors to sample – and take home. The Saturday market is open year-round and features the widest variety of foods. The Tuesday market is open from 8am to 1pm daily from May 2 to Nov. 20. Along with farm fresh fruits and vegetables, the market features festive music and tasty burritos. Yum! Market, open from June 21 to Sept. 27, caters to the summertime after-work crowd. Hours are from 3-7 p.m.

farmers-market-berries

Mark your calendars for several visits to the Santa Fe Farmers Market this year. And afterwards, relax at the Inn on the Alameda for a drink – or for the night!

A City of Superlatives

A CITY OF SUPERLATIVES Santa Feans will gladly tell you the many superlatives that define the city. The oldest. The highest. The best. While there’s no denying the city’s altitude, the veracity of the best is up to you because when it comes to oldest,...

read more
Top 4 Summer Festivals in Santa Fe

Top 4 Summer Festivals in Santa Fe

When planning a summer visit to Northern New Mexico, be sure to check out Santa Fe’s roster of art and culture festivals. The summer months bring a wide variety of festivals and activities to Santa Fe. If you want to experience the true flavor of this historic and colorful city, we recommend including one of these outstanding festivals with your visit:

International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe, July 13-15

Folk-Art

Santa Fe’s art markets are a unique opportunity to meet and mingle with artists and fellow art lovers beyond the city’s famed galleries and museums. This event is the world’s largest exhibition and sale by master folk artists, with close to 200 different artists from 53 countries. The festival offers a chance to view and purchase unique folk art from around the world while you enjoy international food, live music and art demonstrations. Artists earn an estimated $25 million at the market, which helps support their craft and communities. The International Folk Art Alliance produces the event and has expanded over the years to support artists and their communities around the world. The Alliance partners with local and international organizations, including UNESCO and the World Craft Council.

The 67th Annual Traditional Spanish Market, July 28-29

Pottery

Each year in late July, Santa Fe welcomes hundreds of artists from New Mexico and Colorado to celebrate their unique work. Santa Fe’s annual Spanish Market is a celebration of Spanish Colonial artists who use traditional practices to create stunning woodwork, tinwork, straw appliqué and ironwork as well as pottery, jewelry, painting and hand-crafted furniture. Many of these artisanal styles date back 400 years. The Spanish Colonial Arts Society sponsors this event each year as a celebration of Santa Fe’s unique colonial history with its Spanish and Catholic influences. Enjoy live music and performances in Santa Fe’s historic plaza and a special Market Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. Food vendors will serve up international flavors, and the event offers art demonstrations and historical talks as well. Don’t miss the Friday night preview at Museo Cultural to view the best of the best and meet with artists before the sale starts Saturday and Sunday.

Santa Fe Indian Market, August 18-19

Santa-Fe-Indian-Market

This celebration of Native arts attracts art collectors from all over the world. That’s not a surprise, considering this is the largest and oldest juried Native American art showcase in the world. The event features 900 artists from more than 200 tribes in the U.S. and Canada. The Indian Market originated as part of Fiesta de Santa Fe but has expanded into its own festival. The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA), a non-profit organization that promotes Native art and artists, arranges the event every year and the market continues to grow. Market-goers can meet artists and experience contemporary Native art and culture first-hand. You’ll find pottery, painting, sculpture, jewelry, basketry, textile weaving, beadwork and other contemporary and traditional art. The art market takes place on Santa Fe’s historic plaza and adjacent streets, where artists set up their wares and sell directly to the public.

Fiesta de Santa Fe, September 1-10

zozobra (2)

Founded in 1609, Santa Fe is older than the United States—in fact, it’s the oldest capital city in the country. Fiesta de Santa Fe is the city’s annual celebration of that history and the region’s many influences, including Native, Spanish, Mexican and Anglo cultures. This colorful celebration centers around a re-enactment of General Don Diego de Vargas’s peaceful re-conquest of the capital city in 1692. It features a parade for kids and a mix of religious celebrations, art, music, food and cultural events. One of the Fiesta’s most famous activities is the burning of “Zozobra” or “Old Man Gloom,” a 50-foot marionette that symbolizes the hardships and despair of the previous year. This annual celebration has been going on for no less than 300 years. Each year it’s produced by the hard work of the all-volunteer Santa Fe Fiesta Council with support from local businesses and civic organizations.

To get a true feel for the history and culture of Northern New Mexico, we highly recommend including a visit to one of Santa Fe’s colorful festivals on your trip to Inn on the Alameda.

To learn more about Santa Fe, or for help planning your trip to Santa Fe, visit our website.

A City of Superlatives

A CITY OF SUPERLATIVES Santa Feans will gladly tell you the many superlatives that define the city. The oldest. The highest. The best. While there’s no denying the city’s altitude, the veracity of the best is up to you because when it comes to oldest,...

read more
Christmas Eve in Santa Fe

Christmas Eve in Santa Fe

The holiday season here in Santa Fe is one of our favorite times of the year. Lights, music, and a host of annual activities make this a magical place to visit during the Christmas season. But if we could choose just one night to be here in Santa Fe, it would be Christmas Eve.

 

On Christmas Eve, Canyon Road (home to many of the city’s art galleries) is closed to traffic, and the city gathers there to celebrate. The street is alight with thousands of fairy lights, and luminarias (also known as farolitos) which are sand filled paper bags with candles in them that line the sidewalks and the tops of buildings and walls. Historically, this tradition started as small bonfires that were made with crisscrossed piñon branches built in squares about three-feet high and are said to light the way for the Christ child. These beautifully, lit walkways have been a part of Santa Fe tradition since the 19th century.  

 

Starting at dusk, people wander up and down Canyon road, enjoying the sights, and warming themselves up by visiting the many galleries and shops that stay open to offer hot chocolate and cookies. There are even wandering groups of carolers, helping spread the holiday cheer. It’s a time for everyone in Santa Fe to come out and celebrate together.

 

After visiting Canyon Road, many people head over to midnight mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis de Assisi. The doors usually open at 10:30pm, with Lessons and Carols starting at 11pm. By the time the mass starts at midnight, there is not an empty seat. It’s a wonderful blending of Catholic & Santa Fe traditions and not to be missed. If you’re looking for an earlier mass, San Miguel Mission – the oldest church in the United States – offers mass at 7 pm.   

 

Christmas in Santa Fe offers so many different ways to celebrate the holidays. Our location means that you are walking distance to all the holiday festivities, from luminarias and concerts, to midnight mass. Check our availability so you can be close to all the wonderful holiday festivities!  

Joe and Mike’s Blog: Onward Spirit Soldiers

Pilgrimages are as old as most religions, tied together by and sharing a similar goal and a path to follow to get there.

 

And as defined, somewhat, by Eleanor Munro in her book On Glory Roads: A Pilgrim’s Book About Pilgrimage, there are often several processes involved. The most poignant one being that pilgrimage is linked to our need to orient ourselves in the universe, a way to fix ourselves to the motions of the heavens. We find ourselves a polestar and we get ourselves to it. If not at least once then regularly. Why? Because this particular type of ritual connects us to the cosmic order, which in turn connects us to ourselves and each other.

 

Most religions have recognized the value of this type of physical experience, the way it creates a sense of shared journey with others of like beliefs. But one need not be of any particular religion to go on a pilgrimage or find value in going on one. There are probably just as many secular pilgrims as religious pilgrims.

 

But the paths they walk—or the reasons for walking these paths—often are the same: they are physical manifestations of a spiritual commitment each pilgrim feels is needed to enhance his or her life.

 

Certainly, pilgrimages go back centuries—to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, to Lourdes in France, and the Santiago de Compostela in Spain (which is 1,000 miles long and takes over two months!). Even hikers along the Appalachian Trail, or the path taken by Cheryl Strayed up the Pacific Crest Trail for her memoir, Wild, haven’t been out there merely to enjoy nature and be outdoors. They’re there to get at something deeper, or higher.

 

These are all routes people—pilgrims—have taken for centuries, sometimes millennia. And along the way, villages arose, often spaced a day’s walk apart and founded to feed, house, and encourage travelers—and sell them mementos and religious artifacts as signs of their accomplishment or objects of inspiration, items such as shells from the ocean at Santiago, or small handmade crosses and figurines of Jesus or the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico.

 

New Mexico has its own famed pilgrimage: Santuario de Chimayo. Leading up to Easter weekend, you’ll see people walking from as far away as Albuquerque, Raton, Taos, or Socorro. Some alone, some in groups, usually along the highways and county roads, young, old, too young, too old. People who look like they’ve never walked further than their driveway. All sharing a common goal: to make it to a remote church built by Catholic friars hundreds of years ago in the tiny town of Chimayo, 28 miles north of Santa Fe.

 

At this location, the Santuario de Chimayo, there was a mysterious spot that the Native Americans long ago recognized as having special healing powers. Mysteriously, fine sand endlessly appeared in a hole in the earth. Sand that seemed to replenish itself. The Spanish interpreted this as a sign from God and associated it with His power to cure illness through faith. As often was the case, the Spanish, like so many conquerors, then built their church directly on top of the indigenous peoples’ shrines.

 

For whatever reason, though, the Spaniards did not entirely eliminate the physical or spiritual presence of the Natives’ sacred spot. (They did, however, name the spot out of which the “tierra bendita,” the “good earth” came from: El Pocito—the Little Well.)

 

Instead, the Native Americans’ healing place not only survived but transcended its transformation into a Catholic church. And not unlike the Native Americans who’d been there before them, the peoples of Northern New Mexico found themselves drawn to the Santuario’s mysterious healing powers.

 

Today, signs of the Santuario’s healing powers are everywhere: the walls and ceilings are adorned with discarded crutches and canes, braces for arms, legs, necks, and backs, and even collapsed wheelchairs! And both inside the church and outside, in the porticos ringing the church, are hundreds of photos, most of family members standing next to or hugging their loved ones who’ve been cured by their faith in the holy sand.

 

While not for the fainthearted, today’s Chimayo pilgrimage offers a sense of rebirth and health for Catholics and non-Catholics alike, providing spiritual and communal bonding for all its participants.

 

Upon returning to Santa Fe, pilgrims in want of more earthly spirits are always welcome here at the Inn on the Alameda. The Agoyo Lounge, in particular, offers sojourners and guests alike a seasonally changing menu of regional foods, cocktails, and wines. Our staff is always ready to share their evenings with you in our small, intimate Inn. And though we may not be the Santuario de Chimayo, we consider many of our guests as pilgrims—many of whom come back to the Inn on the Alameda more than once, often in search of our humble hospitality, a place where they can orient themselves in Santa Fe if not the universe.

Day of the Dead = Dia de los Muertos

This fascinating two-day celebration at the first of November is not only the oldest American ritual honoring the dead, but the most popular holiday in all of Mexico. The native peoples that inhabited Mexico before the Spanish conquest in 1521 had a deep connection with death and dying. While modern western medicine cannot explain what happens after death occurs, neither could the old healers tell anyone what truly lies beyond the veil of life. So when Catholicism became the religion forced upon the Indigenous People, the Church already had two special days of recognizing and remembering the dead: All Saints Day and All Souls Day.

 

The appealing concept and imagery of this special day remembering the dead helped the merging of the Catholics’ and the Indigenous Peoples’ histories and beliefs.  Dia de los Muertos formed a perfect common and similar union between Catholicism and Mexican traditional days of celebration. Ironically, this is a day for the dead with little focus on the Church, Jesus Christ, nor the trilogy. Instead, candied skeletons, skulls, marigold flowers and photographs of the deceased family members adorn the beautiful and personalized shrines and altars throughout Mexico.  It is an invitation from the living to the dead to come and share a meal. Often on display can be found tequila, beers, cigarettes, tacos, mole: whatever each individual dead honoree enjoyed the most.

 

It is widely believed that the American tradition of Halloween stems from the blending of these two traditional celebrations of the dead’s lives. However, as one might expect from a culture of consumerism, Americans buy our children costumes of spooks, ghosts and skeletons and hustle them off to scare people and ask for candy. One can certainly see the American propensity to commercialize what was at one time a day to honor and remember your people now passed over. On the Day of the Dead, one sees all over Mexico activities such as building altars and shrines, cleaning and decorating graves, listening to strolling musicians, telling funny stories about each deceased relative, now again living for two precious days a year in the cemeteries through the energy, respect and honor of their families. The energy is always joyous, never gloomy. It is ironically a celebration of Life, this Day of the Dead!

Agoyo Lounge Guacamole

 

Modern American culture has morphed this wonderful celebration of life into children screaming “Boo!” as if the dead came back on All Saints Day to scare people. Give me candy or we will “trick” you somehow in revenge. The real trick would be to somehow culturally re-connect Halloween with the wonderful aspects of the Day of the Dead.

So this Halloween, or the Day of the Dead, please stop by the Agoyo Lounge at the Inn on the Alameda in Santa Fe for a celebratory meal and drink and toast your past family members; and through your memories, celebrate their lives on earth.

BOOK NOW