New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs

New Mexico Traditions spreads warmth and light across the state with diverse slate of holiday and winter events

November 01, 2023

Greg Gurule

Santa Fe, NM – As the temperature drops and days grow shorter, another holiday season is fast approaching in New Mexico. To mark the occasion, the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs (NMDCA) is preparing to celebrate the holidays, and the Land of Enchantment’s rich cultural heritage, with its grandest edition of New Mexico Traditions yet! 

“Across New Mexico, our traditions are important elements of our culture to pass on to the next generation, while allowing us to mark the moments that matter to us,” said NMDCA Cabinet Secretary Debra Garcia y Griego. “To honor New Mexico’s diverse cultures, our museums and historic sites are putting together their most impressive slate of holiday programs to date, with dozens of events across the state. On behalf of NMDCA, we invite you to share in our traditions and celebrate the season with us.” 

Spanning four months and extending from Rio Arriba County to the Village of Mesilla, New Mexico Traditions showcases the broad range of holiday traditions celebrated in our state. Some events are tied to Christmas, with traditional farolitos, holiday markets, and visits from Santa Claus. But others celebrate Lunar New Year, Día de Los Muertos, Veterans Day, and the countless Tribal traditions that have been celebrated in the land we call New Mexico for generations. A full list of upcoming New Mexico Traditions events and times is available HERE

In November, New Mexico Traditions kicks off with a slate of unique events at NMDCA museums across the state. Albuquerque’s National Hispanic Cultural Center will host a Día de los Muertos-focused Día de Familia on Sunday, Nov. 5, featuring sugar skull decorations, papel picado crafts, and a free screening of Disney’s Coco sure to delight the whole family. On Thursday, Nov. 9, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture on Santa Fe’s Museum Hill will celebrate contributions from Indigenous members of the U.S. Armed Forces as part of its Here, Now and Always Native Narratives Speaker Series. Down south, New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces will host Homegrown: A New Mexico Food Show & Gift Market on Nov. 18-19. In partnership with the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, Homegrown features around 60 vendors showcasing New Mexico’s award-winning food products along with arts and crafts. 

December brings a broad selection of traditional holiday classics alongside new favorites. Each of the seven New Mexico Historic Sites (NMHS) locations will be spreading holiday cheer with a special event this December, ranging from the annual farolito events at Jemez and Los Luceros Historic Sites to the Nacimientos Open House at Taylor-Mesilla Historic Site, showcasing the site’s extensive collection of artifacts. Other December highlights around the state include the New Mexico History Museum’s Las Posadas, a creative retelling of Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter featuring a candle-lit procession that begins on the Santa Fe Plaza, a Holiday Open House hosted by the History Museum and the New Mexico Museum of Art, and Holiday on the Hill: A Space Tradition, a free day at the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo on Saturday, Dec. 16, featuring family friendly activities and hands-on education demos. 

The holiday festivities even continue into 2024! The Museum of International Folk Art will host its annual Lunar New Year celebration on Sunday, Feb. 4. And love will be in the air at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science with a pair of events – Fall in Love with Science Family Night and Valentines Day Adult Night – designed to help visitors get in the Valentines Day spirit! Throughout the season, New Mexico Arts, the New Mexico State Library, the Office of Archaeological Studies, and the Historic Preservation Division will be working collaboratively with state, local, and Tribal partners across the state to highlight their work and showcase the vast range of traditions in New Mexico. 

The prices of these programs vary. To learn more about every New Mexico Traditions event, visit or

About the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs Created in 1978 by the New Mexico Legislature, the Department of Cultural Affairs (NMDCA) is New Mexico’s cultural steward, charged with preserving and showcasing the state’s cultural riches. With its eight museums, eight historic sites, arts, archaeology, historic preservation, and library programs, the DCA is one of the largest and most diverse state cultural agencies in the nation. Together, the facilities, programs, and services of the Department support a $5.6 billion cultural industry in New Mexico. 

Related Photos

NM Traditions- 23/24

Back to Press Release List »