San Juan Pueblo Feast Day

San Juan Pueblo Feast Day

June 24
San Juan Pueblo Feast Day is a day to honor St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of the San Juan Pueblo, near Espanola, New Mexico. The pueblo, where the first New Mexican capital was founded by the Spaniards in 1598, is headquarters today for the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council.
The San Juan feast day observations, like those of other New Mexican pueblos, combines Roman Catholic ritual with traditional Indian ceremonies.
The celebration begins on the evening of June 23 with vespers and mass in the Church of St. John the Baptist. After the services, St. John's statue is carried to a shrine prepared for it in the pueblo's plaza. This procession is followed by a one-mile run in which anyone can participate; a "sing" by the pueblo war chiefs, or officers; a procession of singers and runners; and two Buffalo dances, each presented by two men and one woman wearing buffalo costumes.
The actual feast day begins with a mass, and is followed by an assortment of dances, which usually include Buffalo, Comanche, and Green Corn (harvest) dances. Men beat drums and chant as the dancers, arrayed in long lines and wearing body paint and elaborate costumes with feathers and beads, move slowly and rhythmically to the beat. Vendors sell jewelry, crafts, and assorted souvenirs, and a carnival with a ferris wheel and carousel is also part of the celebration.
See also St. John's Day
CONTACTS:
Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo
P.O. Box 1099
San Juan Pueblo, NM 87566
505-852-4400; fax: 505-852-4820
SOURCES:
IndianAmer-1989, pp. 286, 312
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