Photo by Jeremy Elliott—jdestudios.com

Annual San Luis Manito Christmas Celebration — December 8th, 2018

The Town of San Luis and Adelente San Luis will team up for a third annual San Luis Manito Christmas celebration the first weekend of December. In 2017 the town celebrated the tradition of “Oremos” a local tradition over 100 years old. This winter tradition has been celebrated in the Hispanic villages of northern New Mexico and souther Colorado for centuries.

It begins in each village with the lighting of one luminaria (bonfire) on the 16th of December. On the 17th there will be 2 luminarias, on the 18th there will be 3, so that on the 24th there are 9 luminarias in each village.  This hearkens back to the Jewish tradition of lighting a candle on the first night on Hanukkah, 2 on the second, etc. Until on the 8th night there are 8 candles lit.

On the evening of the 24th, Christmas Eve, a few of the older teenagers don masks and costumes so as to not be recognized.  They are called abuelos (grandfathers).  They make the younger kids sing, march in formation, etcetera – all to the beat of a chicote (a horse whip) around the bonfires.

Finally the whole group goes to the homes of their neighbors in the villages and ask for Oremos.  In front of the homes the candles in the bags are known as farolitos (little lanterns). At each door the children, guided by the abuelos, recite the poem:

“Oremos, oremos. Angelitos semos.
Del cielo venemos a pedir oremos.
Si no nos dan oremos
Puertas y ventanas quebraremos.”

(We pray, we pray. We are little angels.
From heaven we come to ask for oremos.
If you do not give us oremos
Doors and windows we will break.)

The children are then invited by the owners of the house to sing or recite a poem. And then they receive a treat.

The same tradition is done on Christmas morning and is known as Mis Crismes (My Christmas).

Join us Dec. 1, 2018 for the third annual San Luis Manito Christmas Celebration!