Celebrate Christmas Eve at Acoma Pueblo

Christmas Eve December 24th, 2019

$225 per person + tax for party of two | $199 per person + tax for party of three or more

Tour meets at 7:00 PM in Hotel Chaco’s lobby in Old Town Albuquerque and ends around 2:30-3:00 AM at the same location.
Includes Acoma Pueblo entry fee, with photo taking privileges, and a festive dinner at Church Street Cafe.

The Spaniards began to colonize this region in the early 1600s and continued their missionary influence for the next couple hundred years. Consequently, Puebloan beliefs and practices got intertwined with Catholicism and the Indian pueblos set their own mark on Christian holy days.

Acoma Pueblo, one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in North America, celebrates its midnight Christmas Eve Catholic Mass by combining distinctly Puebloan traditions steeped in Native American spiritualism. This extraordinary tour will give you an opportunity to touch an ancient yet presently existing past.

We’ll pick you up at Hotel Chaco at 7PM and go for a stroll around Old Town, where we’ll enjoy New Mexico holiday traditions like luminarias (small paper candle lit lanterns) and traditional foods.

After we have filled our bellies, you’ll travel West along I-40 to Acoma Pueblo’s Cultural Center and Haak’u Museum. From here, you’ll have the choice to journey up the 367-foot climb to the Sky City by shuttle or by foot. Whichever way you choose, you’ll have over 2,000 luminarias illuminating your way to the top of the bluff.

Once in the Pueblo, you will meet Puebloan families, be inspired by the unique architecture and see sites like sacred kivas and the Puebloan motif decorated by San Esteban del Rey Mission Church. The church will be bedecked with light, beckoning visitors and worshippers to enter, where the midnight mass will combine with various ceremonial dances by Acoma clans. Traditional Puebloan dances that have been danced for a millennium, will take place in the church. Drumming and singing will fill the sanctuary as headdresses bob and dancers step gingerly forward with prayers of peace.

The dances performed are subject to change as different clans perform each year, so you could witness the antelope, deer, buffalo, turquoise dance, etc. With thirteen clans, several will perform at midnight while the rest will continue over the next few days.

This is one of the few times of the year where the Catholic religion and ancient Indigenous spirituality intersect, and you will be fortunate to be able to witness it since Acoma opens it doors to visitors on this special day. If you’re up for an enchanting, spiritually oriented evening with an interesting mix of Spanish and Indigenous traditional observances, then this long, fun and exciting evening is for you.

San Esteban del Rey MissionSan Esteban del Rey Mission

San Esteban del Rey Mission Church is the oldest surviving European church in New Mexico. It was built between 1629 and 1641, it is a beautiful architectural hybrid of Spanish Colonial and Puebloan style. Many of the 40 foot long ponderosa pine timbers that line the ceiling are original and were brought to the mesa on foot by captive Puebloan people. The journey to the San Mateo Mountains was four days long and once the timbers had been blessed by the Franciscan Friars, these “holy” logs were no longer allowed to touch the ground. It is said that the Puebloan’s had to sleep at night with the logs stretched across their chests.

Church Street Cafe

What is now the Church Street Cafe was once known as Casa de Ruiz. It is the oldest residence in Albuquerque. Built shortly after the founding of our city in 1706, this building has never been sold and remains in the original families possession to this day.