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Los Dias report cover illustration
Cover illustration from narrative on Los Días: An Hispanic Holiday Tradition

Los Días: An Hispanic Holiday Tradition

Dando los días is a beautiful centuries old Hispano New Year's serenading tradition of the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. It originated with European serenading traditions and may have been reinforced in this region by indigenous traditions in which songs greet the morning sun. Los días (as people often refer to it) blends the tradition of going together in an informal celebration of thankfulness for the year passing in joyful welcome to the coming year.

Beginning on New Year's Eve and continuing through New Year's Day, folk singers and musicians travel from house to house performing songs sung only for Los Días, as well as old favorites and holiday music for families as a gesture of good will. Impromptu ballads speak personally to the family and express wishes for a prosperous and rewarding New Year. The performance begins outside the house and continues when the musicians are invited into the home, where they also share conversation, wine and a meal comprised of New and Old World recipes that take on a ritual significance in this context.

The significance of Los Días is its role in the affirmation of community unity and harmony, and in emphasizing humor as a necessary part of coping with the problems of daily life. This tradition, which creates bridges of compassion between neighbors, helps community members feel unique and special, and supportive of each other.

Project documentation includes a 27-page report on the history and meaning of Los Días in the San Luis Valley.

Originally submitted by: Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Senator.

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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