El Dia De Santiago Y Santa Ana: “A Favorite in Old New Mexico”


El Dia De Santiago Y Santa Ana: “A Favorite in Old New Mexico”

By Robert A. Naranjo

CHIMAYO – There was a time that the fiesta celebrating “El Dia de Santiago y Santa Ana” would bring out the best horses in a community, along with contests in horsemanship on El Dia de Santiago, July 25th among men and on July 26, El Dia de Santa Ana, it was the women’s turn to bring out family horses not shown on the previous day. A parade of the best transportation, if you will,  of over a century ago. This occurred n Spanish New Mexican villages and Indian Pueblos that celebrated the event these Saint Days. It was the foremost fun-filled and favorite events of the summer in the old days in old New Mexico.

Santuario de Chimayo. Photos by Robert A. Naranjo for the Valley Daily Post

In Chimayo, where the El Dia de Santiago y Santa Ana is still celebrated, one may see men and women bring out show cars instead of horses today as Chimayo is well-known for “Low Riders,” that is, cars that are “dropped” to the ground as low as they can go! The Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. has a Chimayo Low Rider on display which shows just how popular and ingrained in the culture these elaborate cars are.

The Holy Family Church in Chimayo will celebrate El Dia de Santiago y Santa Ana today, July 26, after the morning mass according to Florence Jaramillo, owner of the Rancho de Chimayo restaurant.  “Every thing starts after the 1O a.m. mass at Holy Family Church,” she told the Valley Daily Post. “There will be music, food and fun for the family that will last all day,” she added.

Mrs. Jaramillo said that even though the event is still celebrated, there has a gradual scaling down of the celebration through the years. One of the crowd favorites in the past, “Los Matachines” {an old NM dance brought by early settlers} are noticeably missing. “I haven’t seen them practicing like they used to on days before the Fiesta,” she said. “You know, it used to be a three-day event beginning on Friday evening all the way to Sunday,” she added. Mrs. Jaramillo thought that people were just too busy to attend or there are just too many things to occupy a person’s time these days, with the surfing the Internet being one of them.  She is right, missing from the celebration also, is the local radio station, KDCE, broadcasting live from Holy Family Church which they have done for years for past Fiestas. It’s just not advertised as much anymore, making it a largely local celebration.

Visit and take in Las Fiestas de Santiago y Santa Ana today at Holy Family Church, but there aren’t any Rooster Pull contests as that is deemed cruel to the unfortunate roosters and not done anymore, but you can take in some of the Fiesta, visit El Santuario de Chimayo, known as the “Lourdes of America,” but the “Little Priest,” as Fr. Roca is affectionately known as,  and is credited with saving the sacred shrine, is now retired and recently celebrated his 97th birthday – – he is a true New Mexico Living Treasure. You may also visit a number of weaving shops in the area and check out the “Rio Grande Style” type of weaving first woven in New Mexico in Chimayo a century ago. And, maybe cap of the day with dinner at El Rancho de Chimayo, a nationally famous restaurant, where you can sample delicious New Mexican food. In fact, New Mexican food is leading a major national poll as some of the best in America.  But since the word is out about the food and ambiance, it may be best to make reservations first at El Rancho de Chimayo by calling (5O5 351-4444. Tell them the Valley Daily Post sent you!