True to my blog's name "heart in Santa Fe", I miss the "City Different" and New Mexico most of all during the Holiday Season. It is at Christmas time that one experiences the true magic of Santa Fe. One year when I stayed in a casita on Canyon Road with my mother, we had a snow storm like no other on Christmas Eve. We had tickets to a chorale concert at the Loretto Chapel, but the roads were impassable to the Plaza. So we joined some neighbors around a back yard bonfire to sing Christmas Carols and drink hot cider.
The second Christmas in Santa Fe, I experimented with making Posole for my family on Christmas Eve. It is a stew with meat (traditionally pork) green chiles, hominy and vegetables. When researching the history of the stew, I learned that the early Aztecs served the stew on special occasions. To my horror, the meat used was sacrificial human flesh! The heart was a particular delicacy.
After our Christmas Eve supper, we all joined hundreds of revelers taking part in the annual Farolito Walk on snow covered Canyon Road. A farolito is a simple paper bag filled with sand and a candle. The little bags line adobe walls and roof tops on Canyon Road and all over the city. The origin of the farolitos dates back centuries to a trade relationship between Spain and China, when the Chinese lantern became the model for the New Mexican farolito. The Farolito Walk treats participants to a carnival like atmosphere of pinon bonfires on the street corners and hot drinks at galleries and businesses along the way.