Saturday, December 15, 2012
In October 1539, Hernando de Soto, along with his band of some 600 soldiers and 12 Catholic priests, set up a winter encampment among the Apalachee natives in what would eventually become the city of Tallahassee. It was here that the Spanish celebrated the first Christmas Mass in what would become the United States. These events occurred some 26 years prior to the founding of St. Augustine on the Atlantic coast.
As a part of the celebration of Florida's 500th anniversary, an event commemorating the First Christmas Mass will be held at Mission San Luis in Tallahassee on January 5-6, 2013. The event includes historic lectures, re-enactments, food, vendors, and arts and crafts. More importantly, Bishop Gregory Parkes will celebrate Mass in the mission church at noon on January 6. A complete schedule for the two day event is available at the Mission San Luis website here.
Other Links of Interest:
MSNBC Web Article: No Snow for First Christmas
Visit Florida Viva 500 - Florida Tourism Website (Statewide Events)
Viva La Florida - State of Florida Official 500th Anniversary Website
Florida Living History - Re-enactors based in St. Augustine
De Soto Site Wikipedia Link (Photo of Historic Marker near Myers Park)