Fiestas de Santa Fe
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Fiestas de Santa Fe has been held annually since 1712 to celebrate the Reconquest of the city in 1692 by Spanish colonists led by General Don Diego de Vargas (1643–1704). It is the oldest civic celebration of its kind in North America. The Spanish were earlier expelled from the city by neighboring Pueblo people during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 and spent the next 12 years in exile in El Paso del Norte (now Ciudad Juárez, Mexico). The King of Spain appointed de Vargas to lead the exiled colonists in their reoccupation of Santa Fe by surrounding the city with cannons and threatening the Pueblo Indians residing inside with death. He re-entered the city on September 14, 1692; however the war for reoccupation of New Mexico raged on until 1694. Eight years after de Vargas' death, a proclamation was signed to establish an annual commemoration of the resettlement.
The start of Fiestas is marked by the beginning of the Novena masses, which start during the Knighting and Coronation of Don Diego de Vargas and La Reina de Santa Fe in which a procession which takes La Conquistadora from the Cathedral Basilica to the Rosario Chapel, at Rosario Cemetery in Santa Fe. From there 9 masses are held throughout the week and at the end of the week La Conquistadora is returned from Rosario Chapel to the Cathedral Basilica that following weekend. Those masses are carried out and are made as a tribute to the promise that Don Diego de Vargas made to La Conquistadora, and is carried through until September which includes the burning of Zozobra, also known as "Old Man Gloom", a 50 ft/15.2m tall marionette that symbolizes the hardships and despair of the past year. This is followed by 3 days of celebration that includes a reenactment of Don Diego de Vargas's return to the city, a children's pet parade, the Historical/Hysterical Parade, the Fiesta Ball and Roman Catholic masses of thanksgiving. During the festival, the Santa Fe Plaza is filled with arts & crafts and food booths, and mariachis play throughout the city. Fiestas concludes with mass at the St. Francis Cathedral followed by a candlelight procession to the Cross of the Martyrs.
- Santa Fe Fiesta Council - Official Santa Fe Fiesta Site
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