Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Santuario de Chimayo over Christmas

The Santuario de Chimayo is a destination for many guests of The Madeleine Bed & Breakfast Inn throughout the year, but this ancient mission church, built in 1816, is particularly magical during the Christmas holidays.  During this period the church glows with the illumination of hundreds of farolitos, which line the walls and pathway to the church. 

For a real treat, plan your visit for December 22, when you can be present for Las Posadas - a re-enactment of Mary and Joseph's search for a place to spend the night after the birth of Jesus.  The play, starring youths from the church's confirmation class, will begin at 6:30pm.  Afterwards, Leona's Restaurant de Chiamy will provide bizcochitos and hot chocolate.

The Santuario is also known as 'The Lourdes of the West' because of the healing powers of the earth found in the back of the church.  Also of interest are the examples of 19th century art, particularly the main altar screen which came from Mexico, as well as the altar screens from some of New Mexico's most famous santeros.
You may want to arrive in time for a visit to the chapel and Santuario, but bear in mind that they close fairly early.  The Chapel is open from 9am-4pm.  The Santuario is open from 9am-5pm.

Also of interest in Chimayo are the many weaving galleries - of particular note is the Ortega Weaving Shop where you can find traditional Chimayo weavings made by 7th and 8th generations of the Ortega family.  The shop has been open in this location since 1900!

To get there:  go north on 285/84, then turn right on NM 503 for 8 miles to County Road 98, then turn left.  You will see the entrance to the Sanctuario on the right.

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