Santa came early to TSV, and brought with him the only thing we had on our wish list, lots of snow. In the past week we have received 33” inches of fresh; giving everyone in Taos a white Christmas, which is just the icing on the cake of our New Mexican style holidays. The holiday season in these parts is truly one of a kind because of the many traditions and ethnicities that exist here. To help guide you through the season in Taos, here are a few words to add to your vocabulary:
Yuletide (yule·tide) noun. The period around Christmas
“Yuletide” is the word that represents the whole holiday season in Taos, starting in early December. The holidays here are a melting pot of multicultural events and traditions from all religions and ethnicities that are found in Northern New Mexico, ranging from the natives at the Pueblo, to the Spanish heritage and the European roots at the ski valley. Whether you say “frohe weihnachten” or “feliz navidad,” Yuletide in Taos is all encompassing!
Faralito (fa·ro·li·to) noun. A Christmas lantern made of a candle in a small paper bag weighted with sand
They say that you know you are in New Mexico when the Christmas decorations include a few pounds of sand and 100 paper bags! Take a stroll through downtown Taos and you’ll see the streets and adobe buildings aglow with hundreds of faralitos. The lighting of faralitos comes from Spanish tradition and is synonymous with Yultide in Northern New Mexico.
Biscochito (bis·ko·eto) noun. A buttered base cookie; a derivative of bizcocho in Spanish
Legend has it that the conquistadors of the 16th century had a hankering for cookies. Biscochitos are tasty anise and cinnamon flavored cookies that were originally brought to New Mexico by the Spanish and are served during special celebrations, especially around the holidays. They go great with hot chocolate and milk, and if you buy a bag, make sure to eat any broken ones first!
Pueblo (pueb·lo) noun. An American Indian settlement of the Southwestern United States
The Taos Pueblo is a treasure all year round, but on Christmas Eve the natives of Taos Pueblo put on a show that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world. Check it out and witness the procession of Mary winding through the plaza along with rifle salutes and giant bonfires. Get there before 4pm and get a good parking spot!
Glühwein (gloo·vine) noun. Mulled wine served with spices, traditionally from Germany
There is nothing better than celebrating the holidays together with family, except maybe celebrating the holidays together with family at ski mountain. Take a break from the slopes and head into the Bavarian Lodge and order some Glühwein and be transported to the Alps of Europe. You might as well go ahead and get some goulash soup to go along with it.
Piñon (pi·ñon) noun. A small tree with edible seeds, native to Mexico and the Southwestern United States
The Two-Needle Piñon is the official state tree of New Mexico, and if you have ever smelled the fragrance a piñon fire, you know that winter has arrived. This wood is often used to light luminarias, which are bonfires that are often found alongside the faralitos.
“Red, or Green or Christmas?” (chil·i) noun. A spicy topping for all your après
Ok, we admit, this is something you will hear year-round, but we just had to include it. “Red or Green?” is the official state question of New Mexico, seriously it really is, because of the local obsession with chile sauce. With so many chili peppers grown in the region, chile sauce is the perfect topping for pretty much any kind of food. Go for red or go for green, and if you are feeling festive, go for Christmas and get a little bit of both. After all, tis the season!