The town of Bernalillo began its three-day celebration of the 330th Fiestas de San Lorenzo Wednesday.
Las Fiestas de San Lorenzo are an integral part of Bernalillo’s rich cultural calendar. The parties will feature food trucks, vendors, live music, jumpers and slides at Rotary Park beginning Wednesday and running through Friday. Entrance is free.
Las Fiestas are celebrated in honor of Bernalillo’s patron, San Lorenzo, and throughout the week, the focus is on the ritual dance drama known as los Matachines.
The Matachines dance has become a crucial component of Bernalillo’s identity and has been performed in Bernalillo since 1693.
The history of the dance dates back to 1680, when Bernalillo residents were aware of the impending Pueblo Revolt. They fled to present-day El Paso, where they learned the Matachines dance and brought it back to Bernalillo.
The revolt took place on Aug. 10, 1680. Diego de Vargas made a promise that anybody returning to New Mexico would celebrate the day of the revolt annually.
Thursday is the feast day of San Lorenzo.
“The town of Bernalillo is proud to be celebrating the 330th Fiestas de San Lorenzo,” Bernalillo Mayor Jack Torres said. “After more than three centuries, we appreciate the significance to generations. Many families have honored San Lorenzo as danzantes, mayordomos, or in so many other ways. For so many families it also serves as a homecoming. For all, it is a significant part of our heritage. Whether it is the imagery, music or some other memory, it is a time we cherish.”
The three-day event will consist of events including dances, several processions, a vigil and a ceremony.