December 24, 2006

X-mas dancing and drums

Christmas atop ancient mesa

Native Christmas Eve ceremony takes place in front of and inside a church built in the 1600s amid candlelight, dancing and drumsThe procession surges forward, with candles lighting solemn faces. I turn to see that a bonfire has been lit on the plaza, opposite the open church door.

Then I hear drumming and singing. I push my way back through the crowd to see dancers enter the church--a man and a boy with buffalo headdresses and women with black fringe covering their eyes and bells on their hands. The church vibrates to the drummers and the rhythmic stamping of their feet.

This group of dancers is followed by many others. A small boy with a spiky headdress holding a bow and arrows is accompanied by four drummers. I wonder if the young hunter is also a representation of the Christ child.

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