Ventura Breeze

Olivas Adobe celebrates the holidays
with old California flair

by Angela Rosales

Olivas Adobe Candlelight TourOlivas Adobe Historical Park treated the public once again to an enchanting candlelight tour of the historic home on December 12.   An annual tradition for the past fifteen years, costumed volunteers entertained visitors with a series of vignettes bringing the holiday season in old California to life:

Circa 1860. Christmas Eve. You are the guest of Don Raymundo and Teodora Olivas, owners of Rancho San Miguel. The cattle ranch stretches east to the Santa Clara River, borders the Camino Real (modern day 101freeway) and continues west to the sea shore. The elaborate Christmas party has been going on for days and will continue thru January 6th, the day the Magi reached the newborn Jesus. The scent of fresh sweet Tamales fills the air. Mystical clay pot luminarias adorn the court yard and light your way as you dance, feast and celebrate with your fellow guests.

Olivas Adobe Pinata
The children of the adobe restlessly wait to play their part in Las Posadas, commemorating the journey of Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter. Their minds eagerly focused on the piñata filled with candy. Shaped like a seven-pointed star to represent the seven deadly sins, the piñata, once an indigenous Mexican custom, is now a Christmas favorite after Las Posadas.

Olivas Adobe story of the MagiOn the eve of the 6th, the children carefully lay their shoes at the foot of their bed, filled with straw for the Magi’s donkeys. When they awake, they hope to find the straw replaced with candy and other goodies. The Magi’s visit also signifies the official end of the holiday season. After attending mass at the hacienda’s family chapel, you bid farewell to your gracious hosts and promise to come again next Christmas.

 Throughout the year there are many events scheduled at the Olivas Adobe, but none are quite as magical as this. Olivas Adobe historic interpreter, Lola Lynch, sees Christmas time as the perfect opportunity to “give a gift to the community by allowing visitors a chance to experience California’s history, free of charge.” By stepping back in time, Olivas Adobe reminds us that ‘tis the season to come together to embrace new friends, gather with family and celebrate personal and cultural traditions.

Many thanks to tour coordinator, Jerry Leckie, the informative tour guides and all of the volunteers who were fun to watch and performed tirelessly for each new tour group. This annual event is well worth adding to your list of holiday traditions. Visit for more information on tours and future events.

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