La Luz de Nuevo México: Rituals of Seasonal Change in Acequia Communities

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Here’s a look at acequia communities’ winter traditions from David F. Garcia writing for the New Mexico Acequia Association. Acequia communities in the San Luis Valley here in Colorado hold the most senior water rights in the state. Here’s a excerpt:

The solstice, though not specifically celebrated in these communities, marks the time when the earth’s northern hemisphere is tilted furthest away from the sun. Following this day the earth’s tilt reverses and the hours of the day grow longer until the next summer solstice. In many land based communities in the northern hemisphere these natural occurrences coincide with important celebrations during last month of the calendar year.

Though many Acequias lay dormant during the winter months it is a time of planning and observation of the natural world. The mountain snows are among the most scrutinized phenomena on this high desert landscape. In addition, it is an important time for Acequias communities to process many ritual foods that were harvested during the year. Among the most commonly prepared indigenous foods during this time of year are tamales, pozole, and chile con carne. In addition there are many fine desserts such as pastelitos de calabaza, molletes, and bizcochitos. The preparation and consumption of these foods are enmeshed in the ritual significance of religious observances.

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