Hispano Culture, Folklore, Religion and Language

Antonito Murals: Photo courtesy Kyle Hammons

Antonito Murals: Photo courtesy Kyle Hammons

Cradle of Colorado History

A cradle of Colorado history lying at the intersection of the Hispano Southwest and the Anglo Rocky Mountain West, the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area is unique. Today the San Luis Valley exists as a recognizable subcategory of western culture. Main streets lined with murals, historic adobe churches and delicious tamales all represent the unique Hispano stamp of the Valley. The art, language, architecture, folklore and traditions remain evocative of the region’s early Spanish colonists and Mexican settlers.

The greater endurance of traditional values and practices in the Sangre de Cristo region may be attributed to the geographic isolation of the valley. The resiliency of the area residents and their willingness to adapt, but not fully assimilate, to modern ways also a lends special character to the area. Residents of the area and their ancestors have clung steadfastly to their traditional culture and continue to resist the influences of newcomers. Time-honored Hispano traditions and lifestyles that have been passed on through the generations remain integral to modern day living.


Churches were established when new villages were settled, but because of the lack of clergy in the region, masses were held once a month in most communities. Read more…

Music, Art, Architecture

Mariarchi San Luis: Photo courtesy Adams State University

Mariarchi San Luis: Photo courtesy Adams State University

Hispano influences can also be found in the area’s music, arts, and architecture. Hispano music is a mixture of Spanish classical sounds melded with native instruments and rhythms to create an Indo-Hispano music. More traditional Mexican Mariachi bands are also found in the region. Along with music comes dancing and Spanish Colonial folk dances are well preserved and still practiced in the area. Read more...


The Spanish language of the area’s first colonialists remains the dominant language in the area. Remarkably, the geographic isolation of the San Luis Valley has ensured that Castilian Spanish of Spain’s royal court is still spoken in certain remote villages of the Sangre de Cristo region. More common, however, is a Spanish dialect that reveals the slow mixing of culture overtime as Castilian and Mexican Spanish and, in some cases, English have all blended.


English Spanish

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