Realities Created, Maintained and Destroyed, WHILE-U-WAIT!

Monday, December 24, 2007

¡Feliz Navidad y próspero año nuevo!

As we say where I come from.

That would be the good old US of A, the State of New Mexico.

People who go around talking like America is an "English speaking" country really don't know much about our history. I grew up around people who's families had Spanish surnames, who spoke Spanish at home and who's family had been living in New Mexico since before there was a United States.

And of course there is a reason why there are so many Spanish place-names west of the Rockies.

I would hazard that Spanish is as important a language to the history of the US as is English, and more important than German, Italian, Dutch or French (though each plaid important roles in the building of America).

So for those of you not lucky enough to be from the South West, I want to share with you one of my very favorite Christmas traditions, Luminarias.

Usually, on the day of Christmas eve you will see all these brown paper bags lining the streets.

The Plaza at Santa Fe Christmas eve day

It looks like a big work crew just up and left their lunches laying about. But at night......

The candles, which are placed on a pile of sand inside the bags, are lit, and the streets and homes take on this warm glow that is like nothing else I know of.

There is nothing quite like going up in the foothills of the Sangre de Christos and look down on the town of Santa Fe to see it lit up with the glow of the Luminarias.

Or to wander through old town Albuquerque, following the lights to see where they lead you.

So Feliz Navidad Amigos, and remember, either we all belong here or none of us do.


Salma said...

Dear Mushtaq,
Assalaamu Alaikum. You are quite right. There is something special about the Southwest, and not just because I was also born in New Mexico. I was going to respond to your words, "either we all belong here or none of us do" last night, but I couldn't see the screen for my tears. Being the daughter of a military man, I have heard (and still hear) all that rhetoric about this being a country founded by Christians who spoke English, etc. etc. I was six or seven years old when I said goodbye to him when he left for Vietnam, knowing he may never come back. He did come back though, a year later.
I have been to the Alamo three times in my life, why I do not know. What I do know is that every time I go there (or any other historic battle site) I can see and feel and hear in my mind's eye the sights and sounds of the men and the suffering they inflicted and endured so that it is all I can do to keep from screaming, "Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Can't you see???? Either we all belong here or none of us do!" Then I buy a few postcards from the nice ladies at the counter and try to calm myself down.
Wa Salaam,

Anonymous said...

Christmas really is beautiful in the New Mexico.

Interesting place, with many families that can trace their heritage back to the Spanish colonial era.

If seniority counts for anything they belong here as much or more than any descendants of the Pilgrims, who came later.

Sean said...

Mushtaq -
Great post (as usual).

Did you shoot those photos? They are AMAZING. You need to add a link to your Flickr portfolio next to your skype :)

Happy New Years!

Sophia said...

Happy New Year!

Wishing you an exciting, fun-filled 2008!

murid_aisha said...

Sallam Guru,

Sometimes we forget that the not-so-distant future. Sadly, repetition is the curse of history forgotten.
I had not seen luminaries in so long; I'm afraid they wouldn't last in Portland.
Missing you and your stories recently.
Feliz Ano Nuevo,
Wishing you Peace and Prosperity in the new year,