photo sharing and upload picture albums photo forums search pictures popular photos photography help login
Ann Murdy | profile | all galleries >> Celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe in Tortugas, New Mexico 2011 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe in Tortugas, New Mexico 2011

In December 2011 I returned to Tortugas, New Mexico to observe the celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe which takes place from December 10th - 12th. This is my favorite cultural event in all of New Mexico. The dancing by the Azteca Chichimecas, Los Danzantes, the Guadalupana Aztecas and Los Indios is so full of passion, heart and soul for Our Lady of Guadalupe. Los Indios and Los Danzantes are a part of the corporation that oversees this celebration. The Pacheco family makes up the Azteca Chichimeca dance group. The Montoya family makes up the Guadalapana Azteca dance group.

It is so beautiful to witness this wonderful event in Tortugas as it fills me with so much joy! The celebration starts on the evening of December 10th when the mayordomos take the anda (a processional float) of Our Lady of Guadalupe from the capilla (chapel) to the casa del pueblo (community house). A velorio is held throughout the evening with dancing done by the danzantes off and on until dawn. The faithful stay inside the casa del pueblo all night long praying and singing to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The next morning at seven o'clock pilgrims form two lines to climb up to the top of "A" mountain as part of a promesa (promise) to the Virgin of Guadalupe. The women are in one line with a partner and men are in the another line with a partner. This is a four and a half mile trek up a steep mountain. Mass, prayer and song take place atop "A" mountain. The faithful burn small bonfires to warm their lunch. While up on the mountain the pilgrims make walking staffs called quiotes. They are constructed from yucca stock and rosettes of yucca leaves. When the pilgrims come down from the "A" mountain after sunset bonfires are lit to guide them back.

On December 12th all four groups enter the plaza in front of the church around eight o'clock in the morning. A mass is then held. After mass the four groups dance for Our Lady of Guadalupe. Los Danzantes and Los Indios dance on the plaza in front of the church whereas the Azteca Chichimecas dance to the right of the church and the Guadalupana Aztecas dance behind the church.

At noon all four groups break for lunch. All visitors are welcomed to enjoy a fiesta dinner at the Casa de Comida. An entire homemade meal is served consisting of meatballs known as albondigas, macaroni and cheese, red chile, beans, bread, cookies and hot chocolate. Months of work goes into preparing for this event especially feeding everyone on the 12th.

After lunch the dancing resumes. At four o'clock in the afternoon all four groups assemble once again in front of the church. The anda of Our Lady of Guadalupe is carried by the mayordomos for a procession. The anda is taken out of the church and it is processed around the village as all four groups pay their respect to Our Lady of Guadalupe. This is my favorite part of the celebration as it is so rich in color and vibrancy. It truly shows the devotion that everyone has for Our Lady of Guadalupe in Tortugas. It is a perfect example of familia y fe (family and faith) in this southern part of the state.
previous pagepages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ALL next page
Altar for Our Lady of Guadalupe
Altar for Our Lady of Guadalupe
Danzantes Outside the Capilla
Danzantes Outside the Capilla
Mayordomos taking Our Lady out of Capilla
Mayordomos taking Our Lady out of Capilla
Danzantes waiting to enter capilla
Danzantes waiting to enter capilla
Danzantes Waiting to Dance inside the Casa del Pueblo
Danzantes Waiting to Dance inside the Casa del Pueblo
Praying to Our Lady of Guadalupe
Praying to Our Lady of Guadalupe
Monarca and Malinches
Monarca and Malinches
Danzante waiting to enter capilla
Danzante waiting to enter capilla
The Altar
The Altar
Pilgrims returning from A Mountain
Pilgrims returning from "A" Mountain
Detail of Quiote
Detail of Quiote
Lady praying to Our Lady of Guadalupe
Lady praying to Our Lady of Guadalupe
previous pagepages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ALL next page