Holiday Traditions with Tesoro Cultural Center

‘Tis the season for holiday festivities, and at Tesoro Cultural Center, we celebrate in historic fashion, with traditions unique to Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico, near the original Bent’s Old Fort. This year, make our traditions your own, and celebrate the season with Tesoro Cultural Center.

Farolito Lighting and Pinecone Ceremony

When: Sunday, November 26, 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 event takes place outside.

Join us as we usher in the holiday season and honor a member of the community with our annual Farolito Lighting and Pinecone Ceremony. The ceremony, a Fort tradition for more than 25 years, is a southwestern twist on the Christmas tree lighting. Instead of the tree, farolitos – paper bags filled with sand and a candle – are lit by the honoree, and fill The Fort’s open-air courtyard. The tradition of lighting farolitos is believed to have originated from Spanish merchants who were inspired themselves by Chinese Paper Lanterns. It was believed that the lights will guide the spirit of Christ to the home.

This year’s honoree is Steve Friesen, acclaimed author and executive director of the Buffalo Bill Museum. Friesen has written two books on the life and adventures of Buffalo Bill; they include Buffalo Bill: Scout, Showman, Visionary, and another that was published just this year, called Lakota Performers in Europe; Their Culture and the Artifacts They Left Behind. Friesen is considered one of the most senior authorities on the beloved Western showman.

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, while you enjoy Mexican hot chocolate, hot cider and traditional biscochitos.

Members-Only Holiday Auction Party

When: Sunday, December 3, at 5 p.m.

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

Cost: $25 per member

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

Break out your favorite buckskin, military uniform or other piece of 19th century period dress, and enter Tesoro’s costume contest. Lance Grabowski, Holly Arnold Kinney and Shawn MacLeod will be the judges.

Your ticket includes delicious appetizers from The Fort, holiday treats and two drink tickets. There will also be a cash bar available, and entertainment will be provided by Rex Rideout and Doc Grizzly.

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

Las Posadas

When: Sunday, December 24, from 4-5:30 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 event takes place outside.

 In many small Hispanic towns in 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, musicians play customary Las Posadas songs, and complimentary biscochito cookies, hot cider and Mexican hot chocolate are served.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,