Attractions in Santa Fe New Mexico includes many celebrations and cultural events throughout the year. Fiesta Santa Fe is one that you don’t want to miss.
Over 300 years old, Santa Fe’s biggest celebration is a ten-day series of bailles, processions, parades, and musical performances which is all a part of Fiesta de Santa Fe. The historic capital of Santa Fe is one of the oldest in the United States. The capital was established by Don Juan de Oñate at San Gabriel in 1598. It was relocated over 30 miles south to the foot of the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains where Santa Fe was founded in 1610.
As a side note, the site of San Gabriel is a National Historic Landmark and is located on the Río Grande in the northern region of present-day New Mexico. A cross and a memorial mark the site which is accessible to the public.
The Beginnings of Fiesta de Santa Fe
Fiesta de Santa Fe is one of the largest annual events in Santa Fe, New Mexico and is all about a celebration of cultures (Spanish and Native American) coming together in peace.
It commemorates the time in 1692 that Diego de Vargas reentered Santa Fe, twelve years after the Pueblo Revolt drove the Spaniards out of Nuevo Mexico.
Fiesta de Santa Fe honors and preserve the annual commemoration in the spirit and letter outlined in the 1712 Santa Fe City Council Proclamation which was formally signed twenty years after Spanish reconquest.
In 1712, the governor of the province of Nuevo México through his Captain General and spokesman, Juan Paez Hurtado, proclaimed that year and each thereafter a Fiesta would be held specifically honoring the bloodless reconquest of Santa Fe twenty years prior. It was decreed that the Fiesta should be one of religious thanksgiving and general celebration. The nine men whose signatures were affixed to the document obligated themselves and posterity to this perennial festival for all future time.
The Actual Reconquest of Santa Fe
The fact is that ever since the Spaniards were expelled from Nuevo Mexico due to the 1680 Pueblo Revolt, the government in Mexico was planning for an eventual reconquest.
The reconquest of Santa Fe and Nuevo Mexico is often referred to as a “bloodless reconquest“. After several attempts, Diego de Vargas entered Santa Fe on September 14, 1692 and took control of the Santa Fe plaza. There was a short confrontation with Indians followed by a peaceful agreement.
This reconquest reestablished the Roman Catholic Church in Santa Fe after the churches had been destroyed and the friars slaughtered during the 1680 revolt.
It was also very important to Spain that Nuevo Mexico be retaken to solidify Spain’s presence in the region especially with the French expansion into the plains region from the Great Lakes.
De Vargas journeyed back to Mexico in 1693 for the purpose of leading colonists back north. There were a few settlers that did stay in the north after the Pueblo revolt but there were not many. There also were settlers in Mexico and around El Paso who didn’t relish going back north. Nevertheless, colonists were gathered together and the journey back to Santa Fe commenced.
During de Vargas’ second reentry into Santa Fe in 1693 the situation was a bit different. Many historians consider the reconquest to have taken place over the years 1693-1704. It took time for Spain to truly bring their rule to the greater region.
Many Pueblo Indians welcomed the Spaniards back but a good many also did not. Those who did welcome the Spanish back were hoping that the Spanish presence would help stop raids against them from Apaches and Navajos. It actually took some bloody conflicts in an assortment of pueblos before Spain truly had control of the region.
Today’s Fiesta Santa Fe
Thousands of people return every year to Fiesta Santa Fe in celebration of 300 year old customs. Enjoy legendary crafts, music, dancing, food and pageantry. Many Fiesta goers discover local cuisine and regional wines at both gourmet restaurants and food booths lining the plaza.
You may enjoy the articles from Trips Into History and our Western Trips site on the links below…
La Fiesta de Santa Fe is a celebration created by the conquistadors who helped establish colonies here. Fiesta de Santa Fe has a special place in the hearts of Santa Feans.
Fiesta attendees can celebrate culture and history by retracing the actual steps of the city’s ancestors through the center of town, or by joining a candlelight procession on the last day of the Fiesta.
Each spring the Fiesta Council holds a contest in which local men and women compete to play the roles of General Don Diego de Vargas and La Reina de la Fiesta de Santa Fe. Reenactments of the Knighting and Coronation of Don Diego de Vargas and La Reina de Santa Fe are highlights of the annual festival.
Plan Your Visit
One must visit attraction in Santa Fe is Fiesta Santa Fe. Santa Fe’s Fiesta is held the second weekend of September. Fiesta is attended by people throughout the world and hotel reservations are generally required well in advance.
The following websites will give you much more information about Fiesta Santa Fe and the events included…
(Article and photos copyright 2014 Trips Into History)