San Geronimo Feast Day

Taos Pueblo
Feast days are an important aspect of Pueblo culture that date back thousands of years. These special gatherings are about family, food and traditional dances. They are also a time when tribal members congregate in a renewal of their language, religion and culture.

In the 1500s, the Spanish entered territory that later became New Mexico. They brought with them their Roman Catholic religion. Missionaries embarked for this foreign land to bring their faith to the Native American peoples living here, and converted many. However, native beliefs and customs survived and became interlaced with Catholicism.

Today, feast days such as San Geronimo Day at Taos Pueblo are as much an observance of ancient Native American traditions, heritage and abundance as they are commemorations of Catholic saints.
Saint Jerome was a Scripture scholar, having translated most of the Old Testament from the Hebrew. He is recognized as the patron saint of translators, librarians and encyclopedists. The feast day in his name at Taos Pueblo centers around the harvest.

The Tiwa people at Taos Pueblo do something extra special during San Geronimo Feast Day — they invite the public to witness their celebration beginning at midnight on Sept. 30 through midnight Oct. 1.
Public attendees will see the traditional dances, the sacred clowns (whose true meaning is only known to the Red Willow people of Taos Pueblo) and pole climbing; the flavors of green chilis and scents of piñon; and a footrace at sunrise. There is also an open market featuring arts and crafts.

Each dance narrates a different story and serves a different purpose. Dances are considered prayers, not a performance, and as such, outsiders are privileged to observe them.