The Loretto Chapel located on the Old Santa Fe Trail stands gothic in structure with the famous stairway inside referred to as miraculous, inexplicable, marvelous and sometimes called St. Joseph’s Staircase. This staircase has for decades confounded architects, engineers and master craftsmen alike as it makes two plus complete 360-degree turns, stands 20’ tall and has no center support. Resting solely on its base at the bottom and against the choir loft on top, the 33 steps are all of the same height. An non-indigenous wood creates the structure with square wooden pegs and no glue or nails (thus miraculous) were used in the construction.
History of the Loretto Chapel dates back to Bishop Jean Baptisite Lamy who appointed in 1850 by the Church to the New Mexico Territory sought to spread the Catholic faith. Bishop Lamy brought an educational system to the new territory pleading for priests, brothers and nuns to come to Santa Fe to preach and teach. Documented letters show his writings, “I have 6000 Catholics and 300 Americans”!
The Sisters of Loretto were first to accept the calling in 1852. Seven sisters agreed to make the arduous journey to Santa Fe by wagon through bad weather and Indian country. They were beset by a cholera epidemic causing the death of the Mother Superior and another to became so ill she had to return to Kentucky. Five remaining Sisters arrived in Santa Fe in 1852 to begin the Academy of Our Lady of Light (Loretto) in 1853. The little school grew to serve 300 students despite the challenges of smallpox, tuberculosis, leaky mud roofs, a brush with rowdy Confederate Texans during the Civil War and inadequate of funding. The school consisted of 10 buildings on land the size of approximately one square block with the chapel and school building fund coming from the girls school tuition, donations, and the sisters own family inheritances. In 1873 it was decided the school needed a chapel and the sisters pooled their own inheritances reportedly raising $30,000 required to build the beautiful Gothic style chapel- now referred to as “Loretto Chapel”.
During this same time period, Architect Antoine Mouly and his son, Projectus were commissioned by Archbishop Lamy to come from Paris, France to Santa Fe to build what is now St. Francis Cathedral. Lamy encouraged the sisters to use the Mouly’s skills in designing and building a dream chapel. The Gothic Revival-style chapel, patterned after King Louis IX’s Sainte-Chapelle in Paris is in striking contrast to the adobe architecture which Santa Fe is known for. It is said the French clergy in Santa Fe had quite the influence in the architectural design.
Various materials hauled by wagon from nearby villages and towns around Santa Fe were used in the construction of the Loretto Chapel which included quarried stones, sandstone and porous volcanic stone. Also hauled by wagon is the ornate stained glass purchased in 1876 from DuBois Studio in Paris. This beautiful piece was sent by sailing ship, then paddle boat to St. Louis, MO then transported via covered wagon up the Old Santa Fe Trail to the Chapel where it exists today in downtown Santa Fe. Completed in 1878 the Loretto Chapel has undergone many an addition and renovation during it’s life including the introduction of the Stations of the Cross, the Gothic altar and the frescos during the 1890s.
The Miraculous Staircase is legendary and a must see for Santa Fe visitors. It’s said that the Nuns of Loretto had no access to the beautiful choir loft built in the chapel (a major oversight one might say on the part of the architect). The nuns diligently prayed for solution. They believed a carpenter was sent to them as a solution to their prayers. Afterward the staircase was single handedly built by the carpenter, using no nails or glue and wood not indigenous to the area, the carpenter disappeared without a trace with no payment being accepted. The nuns believe it to be God’s provision- St. Joseph the Carpenter himself who built this exquisite piece of carpentry between 1877 and 1881 and taking only six months to build with two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support. None knew how the staircase could stand as it had no central means of support, no nails or glue were used in its construction and thus the staircase was deemed a “miracle”. God’s answer to prayer.
The Loretto Academy closed in 1968. The little chapel and the property for which it sits was put up for sale. In 1971 Our Lady of Light Chapel was sold, deconsecrated as a Catholic Chapel and is enjoyed today by Santa Fe visitors as a private museum operated and maintained, in part, for the preservation of the Miraculous Staircase and the Chapel itself.
The Loretto Chapel is but one of the many historic sites recommended by Inn at Pueblo Bonito – Santa Fe. Just steps from the inn to the Loretto Chapel will add to your authentic historic Santa Fe travel experience.
Pueblo Feast Days Calendar and Events
Santa Fe is THE place for visitors to centralize and set up their Northern New Mexico travel base when planning out their exploration adventures. New Mexico travelers can maximize their exposure and convenience to nearby Pueblos for viewing and experiencing first hand cultural Pueblo opportunities as well as take advantage of 4 National Monuments near by. There are 19 Pueblos that exist in and around Northern New Mexico- Santa Fe. Each Pueblo observes sacred ceremonial Feast Days and Religious Events throughout the year. Native American Pueblo people generously allow us (respectful outsiders) to attend some of the sacred rituals and events throughout the calendar year. When traveling to Santa Fe or through New Mexico we highly recommend taking advantage of these special opportunities. Take time to enjoy and view one of the special Northern New Mexico Pueblo events, but emphasize visitor courtesy!
Observe all Pueblo Rules of Etiquette when a visitor on Native American pueblo or village community as they are just like your own neighborhood! Visitors should realize this is “life” for the Northern New Mexico Pueblo people- not a “display” for visitor entertainment. Pueblo people are “allowing” you to join them in their family and/or culture. If visitors regard these ceremonial opportunities as such, they should understand courtesies necessary such as: 1. No photography; 2. Render Natives prime viewing/sitting locations (remember you’re the guest-treat your host with humility and respect). If you’re not sure what the rules are, please inquire at the Tourism Offices for each Pueblo.
Looking to take advantage of your Santa Fe vacation opportunities? Want to plan to attend a Pueblo Feast Day event? Santa Fe’s most popular and longest consecutively running
Click “More” for Calendar of Events. …
As always, Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast inn is Santa Fe’s premier historic adobe pueblo-style accommodation provider in downtown historic Santa Fe. We offer a truly unique historic Santa Fe experience to guests looking to blend memorable accommodations with authentic Native culture, food and hospitality. Serving guests since 1985- Herb & Amy Behm and their staff welcome guests from all over the world to their 156 yr old historic accommodations reflecting authentic historic architecture and an experience from yesteryear (with modern amenities!). Why just stay in Santa Fe, when you can Experience it first hand at Pueblo Bonito b&b inn– Santa Fe?
CALENDAR COMPLIMENTS PUEBLO BONITO B&B INN– SANTA FE, NM.
TIP: Confirm all dates, activities, events before attending. Contact pueblos directly. Information current as of writing.
SUGGESTED ETIQUETTE FOR VISITING NORTHERN NEW MEXICO PUEBLO DANCES AND ACTIVITIES:
Most events allowed for viewing are considered sacred so follow any/all posted rules of etiquette for each ceremony and pueblo. Pueblo tourism offices also provide visitors with pueblo rules- check out their websites.
- Photography is usually forbidden- so don’t take photos!
- No applause- remember these are meaningful dances to the pueblo people- not entertainment.
- Refrain from asking specific questions about the dances, their ceremonial dress etc. Compliments are appreciated- “beautiful ceremony”.
- Feast Days are annual events and usually on date given unless otherwise specified.
- When choosing a viewing place, give up the “prime” locations to the native people- be courteous to them as you are visiting- they are there for a meaningful reason for which the pueblo people are required to attend. (shade, chairs, etc- offer to them).
- IF offered to enter a pueblo home, accept! This would be a huge compliment and make certain you eat what is offered.
voted “Guests Favorite”- 2013, 2014, 2015 (from over 8,500 properties!)
1st: Canes Transfer to New Tribal Officials (Ushering in New Government officials)
Various dances at most Pueblos; Taos Pueblo – Turtle Dance; Santo Domingo Pueblo – Corn Dance; San Juan Pueblo – Cloud or Basket Dance.
6th: King’s Day Celebration – Honoring New Pueblo Tribal Officials
Picuris Pueblo – various dances; Nambe Pueblo – Buffalo, Deer & Antelope Dances; Sandia & Santo Domingo Pueblos – various dances; Taos Pueblo – Deer & Buffalo Dances; Most of these Pueblos open to the public.
22nd: San Ildefonso Pueblo: Vespers evening with firelight procession. 6pm – Contact the pueblo to confirm.
23rd: San Ildefonso Pueblo Annual Feast Day: Buffalo, Comanche & Deer Dances.
25th: St. Paul’s Feast Day: Picuris Pueblo & San Juan Pueblo Annual Feast Day
1st or 2nd Weekend: Governor’s Feast – Old Acoma Pueblo – various dances; San Juan Pueblo – Deer Dances
2nd: Candelaria Day Celebration: San Felipe & Picuris Pueblos
MARCH: NOTE: Mid-March to Mid-April: Taos Pueblo Closed
19th: St. Joseph’s Feast Day: Laguna Pueblo (Old Laguna) Harvest Dance & Various Dances.
Easter Weekend: Basket and Corn Dances at most Pueblos
Easter Sunday: Nambe Pueblo – Bow & Arrow Dance after Mass; Zia Pueblo & San Ildefonso (Sun & Mon) – various dances;
Santo Domingo Pueblo – Corn Dance
1st: St. Philip Annual Feast Day: San Felipe Pueblo – Corn Dance.
3rd: Santa Cruz Feast Day: Taos Pueblo, Blessing of the Fields & Corn Dance and Traditional Foot Races.
7th: Santa Maria Feast Day: Acoma Pueblo.
Memorial Day Weekend: Annual Jemez Pueblo Red Rocks Arts & Crafts Show & Powwow.
First Saturday of the Month: Blessing of the Fields at Tesuque Pueblo – Corn Dance
June 13th: San Antonio Annual Feast Day – Sandia Pueblo & Taos Pueblo & San Juan/Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo Pueblo- Corn Dances;
Santa Clara Pueblo – Comanche (Buffalo) Dance; Picuris Pueblo – Children’s foot race.
June 16th – 17th: (Father’s Day weekend): Picuris Pueblo – High Country Arts & Crafts Festival
June 23rd: San Juan Pueblo/Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo – Vespers, Foot Race and Buffalo Dance.
24th: St. John Bautista Annual Feast Day: San Juan Pueblo/Ohkay Owingeh – Corn Dance, Buffalo Dance; Taos Pueblo – Corn Dance.
29th: San Pedro Feast Day- Corn Dance: Santa Ana Pueblo & Santo Domingo. – Corn Dance
4th: Celebration at the Waterfall – Nambe Pueblo. Call to confirm! (505) 455-2036
2nd Weekend of July. Taos Pueblo Annual Intertribal Pow-Wow (575) 758-1028
14th: San Bonaventura Feast Day: Cochiti Pueblo – Corn Dance.
3rd weekend of July: Annual Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Arts & Crafts Fair –
San Juan/Okay Owingeh Pueblo. (505) 852-4400
25th: Santiago Feast Day:Taos – Corn Dance.
26th: Santa Ana Annual Feast Day Santa Ana Pueblo & Taos Pueblo – Various dances. Laguna (Seama village) – Harvest & Various Dances.
July or August (date to be determined each year): Zuni Pueblo Arts and Cultural Expo. Zuni, N.M. Call (505)782-7238 for dates.
Annual Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial at Red Rock State Park by Gallup, NM. Activities: Rodeo, parade, dances, arts and crafts, native food, golf tournament, auction etc. Red Rock is 200 miles from Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast Santa Fe a gr 505.863.3896 or http://theceremonial.com
Zuni Pueblo Arts and Cultural Expo. Either in July or August. Zuni, N.M. (505)782-7238
Santa Fe Indian Market. Each August 20, 21, 2017. Traditionally held the third weekend each August on Santa Fe Plaza (easy walk from Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast inn). Native American artists and craftspeople from all over North America exhibit work for juried competitions and purchase. Activities include Native dances, music, costumes, food, craft sales, etc. http://swaia.org or (505) 983-5220.
2nd: San Persingula Feast Day – Annual Feast Day- Jemez Pueblo
4th: Santo Domingo Annual Feast Day – Santo Domingo Pueblo – Corn Dances.
9th: San Lorenzo Mass and Sunset Dances – Picuris Pueblo
10th: In Memory of Pueblo Revolt of 1680 and San Lorenzo Annual Feast Day
Picuris Pueblo – Ceremonial foot race, pole climb & traditional dances; Acoma Pueblo (Acomita Village) – Various Dances.
12th: Santa Clara Annual Feast Day Santa Clara Pueblo – Buffalo, Harvest or Corn Dance.
15th: The Assumption of Our Blessed Mother’s Annual Feast Day Zia Pueblo – Corn Dances; Laguna Pueblo (Mesita Village) – harvest and various dances.
28th: San Augustine Annual Feast Day – Isleta Pueblo – Mass in the morning and a procession following Mass, dances in the afternoon.
Labor Day Weekend – Santo Domingo Pueblo Annual Arts & Crafts Market.
2nd or 3rd weekend: Go-Jii-Yah Feast Day. Call (575) 843-7270 or (575) 759-3242 for exact dates. On Jicarilla Apache Reservation at Stone Lake.
2nd: San Estevan Annual Feast Day – Acoma Pueblo Sky City – Harvest Dance. 1(888)Sky City. (888) 759-2489.
4th: San Augustine Feast Day – Isleta Pueblo – Harvest Dance. (505) 869-3111.
8th: Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Feast Day – Laguna Pueblo – Harvest and social dances (505) 552-6654; San Ildefonso Pueblo – Corn Dance. (505) 455-3549.
14th: Harvest Dance – San Juan/Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo (505) 852-4400
19th: St. Joseph’s Annual Feast Day – Laguna Pueblo – Buffalo Eagle and Social Dances (505) 552-6654.
25th: St. Elizabeth Feast Day – Laguna Pueblo – Harvest & Social Dances (505) 552-6654.
29th: San Geronimo Eve – Taos Pueblo – Vespers & Sundown Dance (575) 758-1028.
30th: San Geronimo Annual Feast Day – Taos Pueblo – Trade fair, ceremonial foot races and pole climb (575) 758-1028.
4th: St. Francis of Assisi Annual Feast Day – Nambe Pueblo: Buffalo & Deer dances.
17th: St. Margaret Mary’s Feast Day – Laguna Pueblo (505) 552-6654 – Harvest and Social Dances.
24th – 27th: Harvest Dance – Laguna Pueblo (505) 552-6654
12th: San Diego Annual Feast Day – Tesuque Pueblo & Jemez Pueblo – Various dances.
Thanksgiving Weekend Acoma Sky City Annual Indian Arts & Crafts Show and Auction – Call to confirm. 1(888) 759-2489.
Thanksgiving Day: Christmas Light Parade. Zuni Pueblo – Call ahead to confirm. (505)782-7238
1st Weekend: Walatowa Winter Arts and Crafts Fair – Jemez Pueblo. For information: (505) 834-7235.
Dec 11th: Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Feast Day – Pojoaque Pueblo – Night dances,Vespers and procession are usually held at 6 p.m. (505) 455-3460.
12th: Our Lady of Guadalupe Annual Feast Day –Tesuque Pueblo – Bow and Arrow, Comanche and Buffalo Dances (505) 983-2667;
Santa Clara Pueblo. – Various Dances (505) 753-7326; Pojoaque Pueblo – 10 am Mass with dancing after (505) 455-3460; Jemez Pueblo – Matachine Dances (505) 834-7235.
24th: Christmas Eve Celebration – We advise confirmation of each pueblo if open to public for these events.
Ohkay Owingeh – Spanish Dance drama Los Matachines and Pine Torch Procession; Taos Pueblo – Sundown Procession with bonfires. (575) 758-1028; Acoma Pueblo – lit with Luminarias, begin at Scenic View Point and continue as far as “Sky City” (888) 759-2489; Laguna Pueblo- 10 pm Mass with various dances to follow (505) 552-6654; San Felipe Pueblo – Dances after Midnight Mass (505) 867-3381; Santa Ana Pueblo – Dances after Midnight Mass. (505) 867-3301; Tesuque Pueblo – Dances after Midnight Mass (505) 983-2667; Nambe Pueblo – Buffalo Dances after Mass. (505) 455-2036; Picuris Pueblo – Sundown Torchlight Procession of the Virgin Vespers – Mass Procession followed by Matachines Dances (575) 587-2419
25th: Christmas Day – Tesuque Pueblo – various dances; Taos Pueblo – Dances to be announced (Deer or Los Matachines); San Ildefonso Pueblo – Christmas Celebration, Matachines Dances; Picuris Pueblo – Christmas Celebration, Matachines Dances; Santo Domingo Pueblo – Special Dances TBA; San Juan/Ohkay Owingeh – various dances; Zia Pueblo – various dances; Cochiti Pueblo – Various Dances (generally Christmas Day and 3 days after).
25th – 27th: Laguna Village – 10am Mass followed by Harvest Dance; Cochiti Pueblo – Various Dances
26th: San Juan/Ohkay Owingeh – Turtle dance
26th – 28th: Santo Domingo – Corn Dance; Most pueblos have Christmas dances- we suggest contacting Pueblos directly- see below: .
28th: Holy Innocents Day – Picuris Pueblo – Children’s dances.
CONTACT NUMBERS FOR 19 PUEBLOS OF NORTHERN NEW MEXICO
Acoma – (888) 759-2489
Cochiti – (505) 465-2244
Isleta – (505) 869-3111
Jemez – (575) 834-7235
Laguna – (505) 552-6654
Nambe – (505) 455-2036
Picuris – (575) 587-2419
Pojoaque – (505) 455-3460
San Felipe – (505) 867-3381
San Ildefonso – (505) 455-3549
San Juan/Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo – (505) 852-4400
Sandia – (505) 867-3317
Santa Ana – (505) 867-3301
Santa Clara (Tourism Dept.) – (505) 753-7326
Santo Domingo – (505) 465-2214
Taos – (575) 758-1028
Tesuque – (505) 983-2667
Zia – (505) 867-3304
Zuni – (505) 782-7238
Santa Fe New Years Eve Special Event
New Year’s Eve Celebration on the Plaza!
WHEN: December 31st, 2016. 9:30pm – 12:15am.
WHERE: Just minutes walk to the Historic Santa Fe Plaza from Inn at Pueblo Bonito Santa Fe!
Imagine what a New Years Eve celebration on America’s oldest capital city- Santa Fe- could possibly be! As this unique and culturally diverse 400+ yr old southwestern destination stands on it’s own merits, especially when it comes to traditions, New Year’s eve has availed the opportunity to create a new modern tradition for historic Santa Fe visitors and locals alike! Santa Fe known for its art, culture, history, authentic traditions, is known also known as the City Different. True to it’s name, Santa Fe’s New Years eve celebration rings true! How many New Years eve festivities are family friendly? How many are specially set up to support and fund children? How many are alcohol free and uplifting? Come enjoy, participate and witness the newest in Santa Fe tradition by gathering up friends and family and ringing in New Year 2017 at the inaugural Santa Fe New Year’s Eve celebration.
Schedule of 2017 New Year Eve Celebration Activities:
9:30pm – Festivities begin with bonfires lining the Historic Santa Fe Plaza. Sip on a cup of hot chocolate (available for donation to benefit Santa Fe kids). Enjoy ethnic foods highlighted in food vendor trucks attending to feed the body while local music heroes like: Alex Maryol and Lumbre del Sol feed the soul and rev the festivities from the bandstand.
11:45pm – Mayor Javier Gonzales and city officials will address the crowd and begin the countdown to 2016.
Midnight – At the stroke of midnight, there’ll be a City Different New Year’s surprise to kick off the New Year in a family-friendly, uplifting fashion.
Late City Bus service will be provided until 12.30am. Remember to thank the driver!
(This is an alcohol-free event!)