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History
Introduction
Shepherds
Devils
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Shepherds

Photographs from the Mary Ann Smothers Bruni Collection

Conflict
Madrinas
Adoration
Players
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En risueños cantos
de los ruiseñores,
caminémos alegres,
hermanos pastores.

Hermanos pastores,
hermanas queridas,
transitando vamos
por estos caminos.

El paso ligero
llevamos rendido,
a ver al Mesías
en pajas nacido.

With the joyful songs
of the nightingales,
let us travel happily,
brother shepherds.

Brother shepherds,
beloved sisters,
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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Last updated: June 15, 2005.
Created by: Craig Schroer - Electronic Services Librarian
Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas at Austin
Please send comments to: schroer@mail.utexas.edu

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