If you are a stranger, if you are weary from the struggles in life, whether you have a handicap, whether you have a broken heart, follow the
long mountain road, find a home in Chimayo.
During Holy Week in New Mexico, tens of thousands of pilgrims make their way to a small village in Northern New Mexico. Some arrive by foot, some crawl on their hands and knees, many are carried by others or come by wheelchair, and some even arrive on horseback.
When you drive anywhere in New Mexico during Holy Week, you will see them walking. This will be on freeways, country roads, and city streets. Some might be carrying a cross; others a candle; some with photos or memento of a loved one. Many walk in silence, while others will sing or pray along the way.
They are all heading to El Santuario de Chimayo, one of the most important Catholic pilgrimage centers in the U.S. and one of the most beautiful examples of Spanish Colonial architecture in New Mexico.
Those who walk this route are supported by the community. Especially on Good Friday, the State blocks off lanes of the main roads leading to Chimayo. People in the community give the pilgrims water, fruit, and encouragement.
Though creeds and cultures may differ, the human spirit is transcendent and always finds its way to holy places
The foundational legends of Chimayo demonstrate that it belongs to all the Indo-Hispano peoples who hold it sacred
For generations, American Indians, Hispanics, and other people of faith have traveled to the site of El Santuario to ask for healing for themselves and others, and to offer prayers of petition and of thanksgiving for favors received.
Pueblo Indians have inhabited the Chimayo area since the 12th century, long before the initial Spanish conquest of New Mexico. The Pueblo and Tewa Indians used the site of El Santuario de Chimayo for healing, and many still do.
The journey to Chimayo is more diverse every year. Thousands of immigrant Mexicans find their way to the Santuario, as do groups of Protestants, Aztec dancers, New Age
enthusiasts, bikers, low-riders, and those who are simply curious. Even so, faith and healing is the primary goal for most
New Mexico has been deeply, expressively Catholic ever since the conquistador Juan de Onate---accompanied by Franciscan missionaries---made his way along this same route over 400 years ago. Today, the pilgrimage looks like something you will find in Spain or Latin America.
The pilgrims who make the trek to Chimayo do so out of faith and devotion. Some, for example, will do so to honor a loved one who died. Others seek the healing potential of the sacred dirt, which they will rub on their body or treasure as a keapsake.
The walls of one of the rooms are covered with expressions of thanks for the cure of ailments. Discarded canes, braces, and wheelchairs hanging from the walls of this room are offered as proof of the miracles at El Santuario. This is one of the reasons why El Santuario is referred to as Lourdes of America, attracting over 300,000 pilgrims annually.
The name Chimayo derives from a Tewa name for a local landmark, the hill of Tsi Mayoh. The town is unincorporated and includes many neighborhoods, each with its own name (such as El Potrero de Chimayo). The town is situated in a valley, 24 miles north of Santa Fe. Hispanics make up 90% of the population.
Down the street from El Santuario is Rancho de Chimayo, a restaurant that serves traditional New Mexican food (enchiladas, tamales, green chile stew, carne asada, chile rellenos, flautas ...).
The restaurant is an adobe home that the owners turned into a restaurant in 1965.