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PUEBLOS CELEBRATE THREE KINGS DAY WITH PRAYER, FOOD AND BUFFALO DANCE.

Byline: SANDRA BALTAZAR MARTINEZ

For the past month, Pojoaque Pueblo Gov. George Rivera's family has been busy preparing for feasts. Wednesday's Three Kings Day culminated the celebrations after the Dec. 12 festivity of Our Lady of Guadalupe
For the Spanish icon, see Our Lady of Guadalupe (Extremadura).


Our Lady of Guadalupe, also called the Virgin of Guadalupe (Spanish: Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe or Virgen de Guadalupe) is a 16th century Roman Catholic Mexican icon depicting
, the pueblo's patron saint.

On Wednesday, Rivera's mother-in-law, Ann Rita Rosacker, was in the kitchen by 6 a.m., watching over a pewter pot simmering with a red chile and Axis stew. Another pot had chile and elk stew; the oven was packed with sopa and red and green enchilada trays. Toward one end of the adobe kitchen, platters filled with mouthwatering mouth·wa·ter·ing or mouth-wa·ter·ing  
adj.
Appealing to the sense of taste; appetizing: the mouthwatering aroma of a baking pie.
 bizcochitos, pastelitos and other pastries for the visitors. The dinner table was set up with white dinner bowls, ready to welcome the first guests: tribal officials and buffalo dancers.

Rosacker prepares enough food to feed 100 to 200 visitors who stop by Rivera's house for the annual celebration, also known as the Feast of the Epiphany. The Catholic celebration represents the day when the three kings, Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar, visited baby Jesus in Bethlehem. In this tradition, tribal members visit pueblo leaders' homes to perform the Buffalo Dance, offer prayer and share food. Buffalo meat is an important part of the meals because pueblos and tribes have been eating it for centuries, Rivera said.

"We pay respects for the celebration and thank the animal for their sustenance," Rivera said. "We are being respectful to Mother Nature."

Along with the festivity, tribal officials and those who serve the pueblo at any level participate in the blessing of the canes; they whisper prayers and sprinkle cornmeal corn·meal also corn meal  
n.
Meal made from corn, used in a wide variety of foods. Also called Indian meal.

Noun 1.
 over them. The canes represent the recognition of pueblo or tribal government. In 1620, this was the way the Spanish decreed that pueblos should elect a governor, lieutenant governor and other officials on an annual basis. Elections are now held every two years at most of the pueblos and tribes. At one point, the canes had a silver cross at the top, a symbol that indicated the pueblos' support of the church, Rivera said.

While the five Buffalo Dancers moved to the rhythm of the drums, Rivera stood outside his home, watching them and literally holding history in his hands. The canes the governor clutched validate his power and that of his predecessors. One cane was given to the pueblo by the Spanish government in 1620, the other in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln.

The beginning of the year also marks the start of many new governing officials. In Northern New Mexico Northern New Mexico may simply mean the northern part of New Mexico, but in cultural terms it usually means the area of heavy Spanish settlement in the north-central part. , several new governors and lieutenant governors took office:

Cochiti Pueblo: Gov. Vernon M. Garcia, Lt. Gov. J. Leroy Arquero

Jemez Pueblo: Gov. Joshua Madalena, 1st Lt. Gov. Aaron Cajero, 2nd Lt. Gov. Larry Chinana

Picuris Pueblo: Gov. Manuel Archuleta, Lt. Gov. Gary Pyne

San Felipe Pueblo: Gov. Feliciano Candelaria, Lt. Gov. Delbert Sanchez

Santo Domingo Pueblo: Gov. Tony Tortalita, Lt. Gov. Jimmy Calabaza
See Calabasas for the city in California


Calabaza (or Calabasa, Kalabasa in tagalog) is a variety of squash commonly eaten in Latin America, the Philippines, and the Caribbean.
 

Taos Pueblo: Gov. James Lujan Sr., Lt. Gov. Richard Aspenwind; Warchief David G. Gomez, Lt. Warchief Harold V. Cordova Cordova, Spain: see Córdoba.  

Tesuque Pueblo: Gov. Frederick Vigil, Lt. Gov. Roman J. Duran

Zia Pueblo: Gov. Marcellus Medina, Lt. Gov. Ben Shije

For a complete list of tribal officials, visit: www.iad.state.nm.us/pueblogovandtribaloff.html

Contact Sandra Baltazar Martinez at 986-3062.

or smartinez@sfnewmexican.com.
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Publication:The Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, NM)
Date:Jan 7, 2010
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