We never plan our trip around it but several times our Santa Fe weekend has coincided with “Spanish Market”. It is one of two similar events that Santa Fe hosts each summer. The other is the “Indian Market”.
Spanish Market is a huge event in Santa Fe. The entire Plaza and historic downtown area is closed to automobiles and taken over by tents housing artists and artisans. Some is fine art. Some is folk art. Some is kitsch. There is definitely a common theme, however. Since the focus is on the area’s Spanish heritage and that heritage was, largely, imported by missionaries, the Plaza is awash in what I have decided to call “Catholica”. Dictionary.com tells me there is no such word but I think there should be.
If the term “Judaica” can be used to describe everything from mezuzahs & menorahs to the works of Chagall, we need a corresponding term to describe the wares on offer in the row upon row of tents occupied by people hawking crucifixes, shines, paintings of various saints and holy persons and as many variations the BVM (Blessed Virgin Mary) as the mind can conceive…no pun intended.
Spanish Market is a wonderful cultural event in the city and I enjoy seeing it, though I have never purchased anything. Part of the reason, I’m sure, is that, having been raised as an evangelical Protestant, I don’t feel the same connection to iconography as those raised in more orthodox communities of faith. Also, at the risk of seeming insensitive, how many variations of the RC (Roman Catholic) version of the cross can there really be? Once one gets the shape and proportions right, the rest is just ornamentation; right? Aren’t they all really the same, plus or minus the bedazzler?
Excluding holiday decorations, the collection of Catholica at Casa de Harper is limited. We have a crucifix; somewhere. We have a plastic miniature of Michelangelo’s Pietà. I believe that was a gift from friends who visited the Vatican. We also have a small plastic statue of St. Joseph. As a Southern Baptist, and a lapsed one, I don’t understand a lot about Saints but I think I get St. Joseph. (He was JC’s step-father; right?)
As I understand the custom, when one wants to sell a house, one buries a statue of St. Joseph in the yard. Once the home sells, one digs up the statue and displays it in a place of honor in the new home. That’s what we did when we sold our last house. Did it help? I don’t know. But I know, at some point, we will want to sell Casa de Harper. I’m O.K. with adding the intercession of a Saint to “location. location, location” as a marketing strategy.