The Fun of The Feast of San Geronimo – Besides the Food…
While a lot of time, money, effort and creativity goes into the preparation of food for guests for the feast day, those that attend, be they natives or non-natives see the day as so much more. And that so much more takes place in the “village,” as the Indians call it, or the “Pueblo” to most visiting Anglos.
In the days before the 30th of September, the Indians will erect a peeled pole of some 50 or 60 feet. I don’t know if they use the same pole each year or if they do a new one. Common sense says they likely save it and reuse it because nothing bad happens to it to change its nature, but I don’t know that for sure. And no culture relies on logic all the time.
The pole is really a star of the show. Late in the afternoon, one or more Kosharis, or clowns as they are called, will try and climb it unaided in order to both accomplish this difficult task, for the pleasure of those watching and waiting – but also to get the rewards up top. In my experience, it is a fresh lamb and other items of value to the Indians.
People will gather starting before noon in order to get a front row seat. Folks will bring chairs to sit in although not everyone does. It is always sunny and warm on the feast day. Mother Nature seems to be on board for this each year.
Over the years, like so much else in our lives, this day has become somewhat commercialized. There are literally 100 booths that are set up with jewelry, pottery, art, and food available. Folks who come will stroll the stalls, sometimes buying, sometimes just killing time waiting for the pole climb.
Indians don’t work or live on a schedule. It is just not in their nature or culture, which is why there is something called Indian time. What that is is whenever it happens, whenever they are ready – and one never knows.
The Kosharis will roam the area having fun, being playful, and sometimes putting people in the river. While that seems harsh to many of us non-Indians, the natives know that it is a tradition and good to have one’s child or grandchild dunked or wet. A blessing of sorts. We have seen Indians ask the Kosharis – always with their bodies painted black and white – to take their kin and dunk them. And they do. Some children scream and some just allow it to happen, but it will happen anyway so they know to go with the flow.
The pole climb itself is a hoot. The Kosharis will be playful in endeavoring to get up to the top. They will entertain before they really try. I have heard of hard falls and injured resulting but I have not witnessed any such incidents. Nor do I want to. Someone could get really hurt and that would ruin the good times for me.
I so look forward to San G day each year. And each year I am so glad that traditions like this exist and that I can enjoy. They don’t have stuff like this in NYC where I come from.
Category : Taos Real Estate Blog