Due to unplanned maintenance of the back-end systems supporting article purchase on Cambridge Core, we have taken the decision to temporarily suspend article purchase for the foreseeable future. We apologise for any inconvenience caused whilst we work with the relevant teams to restore this service.
In 1982, native historian Joe Sando vividly described the Christmas season at Jémez Pueblo in northern New Mexico. Throughout the pueblo, figures of the Christ Child lay on display in homes in prominent, specially-decorated areas representing the stable in Bethlehem. During his childhood, Sando remembered that Hemish families roasted corn in their fireplaces, while elders drew pictures of wild game animals and birds, as well as important crops, on the wall next to the fireplace, in hopes that the birth of Christ would also result in the birth of the animals and plants drawn on the wall. In Jémez today, although the roasting of corn and drawings on the fireplace walls have been replaced by the exchange of gifts and watching television, some seasonal customs continue. Pine logs for communal bonfires rest neatly in square piles in front of each home. Christmas Eve bonfires attract the newborn Infant Jesus, and children gleefully play and dance around them. When the fires die out, the Hemish return to their homes to await midnight mass. After mass at the church, worshipers follow the newborn Infant in procession through the community. The next morning, as the first rays of daylight become visible in the east, animal dancers appear on the hilly skyline to the east and southwest. By the time the sun leaves the eastern horizon, the animals have arrived in the village, gathering in front of the drummers, who sing welcoming songs. The people arrive to welcome the animals, who process to the plaza, where they dance all day.