I’m old, I won’t tell you my age, but time is passing very quickly. I don’t mind though because I love the time of year when a feast day comes around. In Laguna Pueblo we are fortunate to have two feast days. The traditional Feast Day is September 19, to celebrate the Fall Harvest. The official or original day, choose your own label for the date, is March 19. As you can imagine, before that date, which is now, there is much preparation in our seven villages. Dancers are practicing their dances; seamstresses are making mantas, belts, and shirts; jewelers are busily designing and making new pieces; and everyone is renting a booth. Traditionally all the tribes, Pueblo, Navajo, Plains, or Apache, would bring their crops and other items to sell. There still are some from distant pueblos that bring their melons, cuts of meat, jewelry, and hamburger wagons.
Many people from other areas, from the cities, or tourists, might not know about the March 19 Feast Day. It can be a stimulating start to the new year. Feast days can be unique discoveries. To view them you must travel out of your own neighborhood to a distant place; you must respect the customs of a different culture; you must be in awe and have a memorable experience.
My favorite feature of the feast days, no matter where or when, is walking down the midway to view all the vendors. Everyone looks forward to Feast Day, it’s a community event. Families attend so their children can nag their parents for cotton candy, and for tickets to the carnival rides, or to play a game where they might win a stuffed toy. Anyone can participate.
If you are in New Mexico, near Albuquerque about 45 miles to the west, around the 19th of March or September, visit Laguna Pueblo and enjoy the festivities. You’ll want to return.