Sunday, June 24, 2007

Una Identidad Sin Fronteras: San Juan Bautista

[bumped up for the Feast Day - Man Eegee]

This weekend is the Pueblo Viejo's annual fiesta to welcome the monsoon season. It's a synergistic legacy that comes from the early days of the region's history. In honor of San Juan Bautista, la gente will gather near downtown and celebrate the cultura that thrives in Baja Arizona.
Dates: Saturday, June 23, and Sunday, June 24, 2007
4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (both dates)
West Congress St. at the Santa Cruz River (south side, west bank)

The traditional procession and blessing will take place on Sunday from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. People interested in walking in the procession are asked to meet at the Pima College Community Campus, 401 N. Bonita Ave., north of Congress St. The procession will follow along the Santa Cruz River to the fiesta stage where Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas will perform the blessing.

The Día de San Juan Fiesta features Escaramuza and Charros Flor de Primavera performing on horseback. Live music and dance groups include Navegantes, Mariachi Brillante Juvenil, Ballet Folklórico-Tanatzin, and Danza del Venado.

Más información at the City of Tucson website

Drawing from a post I wrote last year, here's some history of this particular feast day.

I'm always fascinated by the way traditions evolve from a single point. In the case of El Día de San Juan on Saturday, the night before is celebrated across Spain with bonfires and rituals of cleansing and renewal; messages preached by Saint John at the waters of the River Jordan. The fires are kindled across cultures and borders to the shores of Ireland where the bonfires trace their roots to Celtic influence.

Perhaps it's the hostile climate that I'm reacting to in 2007, but attending and supporting events like this seem all the more important. Any opportunity to celebrate one's cultura should be taken advantage of; even if we have to create our own traditions based on the history of our roots.

In this particular case, I think of my dad who, like clockwork, goes to my hometown cemetery to de-weed and water the graves of our various ancestors every single Wednesday and Saturday. It is his way of communing with our past, as well as re-focusing his center so that he can be more present to the now and future. It comes from a deep place of respeto y orgullo - hopefully something that I will be able to continue when it's my turn to take up his shovel and mangera.

Water is something sacred to people living in the southwest. I can hear padre's voice echoing in my own throat on a regular basis that, "Man, we really need rain. The animals and desert are thirsty." I guess it's something we have our pulse on when a lot of our free time is spent outdoors - the place where we feel most at peace.

That lifeforce offered by the tierra y cielo is something that is worthy of celebration. If you're in the Tucson area this weekend, join the fiesta along the (ironically) dry banks of the Santa Cruz and feel yourself be woven into the history that surrounds us.

Doing something like that is always worth it.

Part of the Una Identidad Sin Fronteras series

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