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Photographs from the
Mary Ann Smothers Bruni Collection
En risueños cantos
de los ruiseñores,
por estos caminos.
El paso ligero
a ver al Mesías
en pajas nacido.
With the joyful songs |
of the nightingales,
let us travel happily,
we are going through
these moutain paths.
We walk with light steps
although we are tired,
that we may see the Messiah
who was born on straw.
--Caminata in Los Pastores: A Christmas Drama
of Old México, p. 11.
Los Pastores is a ritual journey and adoration, the journey
of the shepherds, la gente , to adore their beloved Santo Niño
Jesús , the blessed baby Jesus. Led by the Archangel
Michael and the shepherd girl Gila, the shepherds and the Hermit
walk to Bethlehem, singing caminatas , or walking
songs, as they go.
These are not noble Renaissance shepherds, but more earthy pastores ,
who do not let piety stand in the way of their appreciation
of good tamales and cabrito . The young shepherd
girl Gila is loved as much for her ability to prepare cabrito as
for her willingness to lead the shepherds to Bethlehem. Bartolo,
the lazy shepherd, is more concerned with eating and drinking
than with the journey.
Along the way the pastores face cold, hunger, and
the malicious antics of ferocious devils led by Lucifer himself.
Protected by the Archangel, the shepherds persevere, and in
a duel of swords and of wills, the Michael triumphs over Lucifer
and throws him in chains beneath his feet. The shepherds arrive
in Bethlehem and adore the Baby Jesus with songs, dances, poems,
and small gifts. This journey and adoration by the shepherds
link the folk of San Antonio to the folk of Colonial Mexico
and Medieval Spain through the tradition of the shepherds'
sacred quest to adore the Santo Niño Jesús .
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