2018 Tesoro Cultural Center Holiday Events

‘Tis the season for upcoming holiday events at Tesoro Cultural Center and The Fort. Please join us for these cultural holiday traditions, including the Farolito Lighting, Las Posadas and more. These events are rooted in traditions unique to southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Make these traditions your own by celebrating with us this year!

Farolito Lighting & Pinecone Ceremony

When: Sunday, November 25, from 4-6 p.m.

Where: On the grounds of The Fort Restaurant (19192 CO-8, Morrison, CO 80465)

Cost: This event is free, and open to the public.

*Please wear warm clothing, as this is an outdoor event.

The Farolito Lighting & Pinecone Ceremony, a Fort tradition for more than 25 years, will honor a member of the community who has enlightened the hearts and minds of others. This year’s honoree is Mr. William Gwaltney, a Western history researcher and former chief ranger at Bent’s Old Fort in La Junta, Colorado. Mr. Gwaltney will also join Tesoro in presenting “Mixed Blood: First Families of the Santa Fe Trail” on January 5 and 6, 2019 as part of Tesoro’s Historic Lecture Series. Click here for more information.

Mr. Gwaltney will light the Farolitos during the event. Instead of a Christmas tree, farolitos – paper bags filled with sand and a candle – are lit to usher in the holiday season. The tradition of lighting farolitos is believed to have originated from Spanish merchants who were inspired themselves by Chinese Paper Lanterns.

Developed by The Fort’s founder, Sam’l P. Arnold, and his wife, Carrie, the Pinecone Ceremony was inspired by events across the world that honor loved ones who have passed away or live far away during the holiday season. During the ceremony, guests are invited to write a message to their loved one, tuck it into a pinecone and toss it into the bonfire as thoughts and prayers are sent up into the night sky. The tradition dates back to 19th century, and it was believed that as the fire burned the pinecones, the messages were transported to the heavens.

Feel the warmth of the fire, and sing along to Christmas carols from the 1830s with strolling musicians and students from the Colorado School of Mines. Also enjoy Mexican hot chocolate, hot cider and traditional biscochitos.


Members-Only Holiday Auction Costume Party

When: Sunday, December 2, from 5-8 p.m.

Where: The Fort Restaurant (19192 CO-8, Morrison, CO 80465)

Cost: $25 per person. Members only.

Shop, dine and celebrate the holiday season while supporting Tesoro’s educational programs and community events at our members-only Holiday Auction Costume Party. The annual auction includes art, pottery, jewelry and more from award-winning artists including Charlie Carillo, Pahponee, Juan Lopez and many others. 

Come dressed in your favorite buckskin, military uniform or other 19th Century dress to enter Tesoro’s costume contest. The best dressed will win a prize.

If you’re not yet a member of Tesoro Cultural Center, join today.


Las Posadas

Photo: JP Creative Group

When: Monday, December 24, from 4-6 p.m.

Where: On the grounds of The Fort Restaurant (19192 CO-8, Morrison, CO 80465)

Cost: This event is free and open to the public.

*Please wear warm clothing, as this is an outdoor event.

In many small Hispanic towns in across southern Colorado and northern New Mexico, the holidays are marked by a centuries-old religious celebration known as Las Posadas, which lasts for several weeks and includes a reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem as depicted in the Christian Bible. The commemoration is believed to have been started in 1586 by the Friars of San Agustin de Acolman. Originally held in a church, the custom spread as the centuries progressed.

The traditional celebration takes place over several nights leading up to Christmas. Each night’s celebration begins with a candlelit procession of caroling participants that ends at a different local home each night, where La Cancion Para Pedir Posada is sung at the front door. Traditionally, the song is split into a duet, with those outside singing the part of Joseph asking for shelter, and the family inside responding as the innkeeper saying there is no room. The two sides continue for a few verses before the host finally opens the door and everyone goes inside for a celebration. 

Tesoro produces a condensed version of the tradition, in which children are invited to participate in a reenactment of the biblical scene. Following the reenactment, children will get to hit the seven-pointed piñata, representing the force of faith against the seven cardinal sins, and enjoy scrambling for the piñata candy in celebration of Christmas. Musicians will play customary Las Posadas songs, and complimentary biscochito cookies, hot cider and Mexican hot chocolate will be served.

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