07-21-18 Patricia Sargeant

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Going off the grid

This month’s blog topic is supposed to be about the pros and cons of writing in multiple subgenres, but since there’s not really any more I can say that the other genre-istas haven’t already said, then I’m going to go off the grid a bit and talk about something else. That something else being, the significance of today’s date. Not many people know that September 15 is Mexican Independence Day. Yeah, that probably means nothing to you any more than Rosh Hashanah means anything to me..not being Jewish and all. In fact, from September 15 to October 15 the nation will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. I'm not sure when the holiday started or rather, when the nation decided to acknowledge it, but for as long as I can remember, there was always a celebration in my hometown, Port Arthur, Texas.

Every third weekend in September my family (and I mean everyone in my family) would attend a three day "Mexican Fiesta" held by the Mexican Heritage Society in Port Arthur. At that time, it was held in the parking lot of the local strip mall, Jefferson City (I remember only because a while back someone commented at my other blog and reminded me. She also remembered the Woolco department store that used to be on the corner...Geez, does that show my age or what?)

Anyway, the festivities would start on Friday evening and consist of mostly food booths....what better reason to go to a fiesta, I ask?? The food was so totally awesome! made by local families and parishioners from Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and the money raised for the Heritage Society and the Hispanic community. They also had a pageant to crown a queen (done on Saturday evening), mariachi players, Capuli dancers, tamale eating contests (which my brother Dave won once) and a street dance (literally since we were in a parking lot) with bands from Victoria Texas or Corpus Christie and other towns. Most of the people attending either sat on the gates of their pickup trucks or brought lawn chairs to sit on, circling around an area designated the 'dance floor'. My brothers and sisters and cousins and I used to jump in when the band played The Cotton-eyed Joe....one of the few dances we could do without a partner. Occasionally we were allowed to work a food booth or drink cart...always fun when you're a kid. (and on a side note, I had my first kiss at the fiesta, but I won't say who he was or my age at the time.)

Nowadays the fiesta is held at the Port Arthur Civic Center and (imo) isn't the celebration it used to be. It's lost a lot in it's transition (mostly the tradition). One of these years I'm going to make it back home for one of these celebrations.

You know, if you think about it, my work, Latina Romance, can be considered crossing genres...at least that's what my critique partners tell me. To me, it's just, business as usual.

So, how do you plan to celebrate Mexican Independence Day and National Hispanic Heritage Month? I know....why not curl up with a hot Latina Romance? I just happen to have one.


Sarah Raplee said...

I enjoyed your post, Terri! I love learning more about our southern neighbor. So many of us have connections to Mexico, but overall we don't know enough about Mexican history and culture.


Terri Molina said...

thank you Sarah. =)

Judith Ashley said...


Very informative! I know about Cinco de Mayo but didn't know about this celebration of Hispanic Heritage.

The 'old' fiesta sounds wonderful. Love the description of families, trucks, dancing, music and food. Seems much more fun than going to one at a Civic Center - at least to me.

To celebrate? I'm learning to make home made salsa and will focus on that at least once a week for the month. I have learned from my first couple of tries what my tolerance is for jalapeno peppers! lol

Terri Molina said...

lol, Judith. You know, my family makes fun of me because I can't eat jalepenos...too hot for me!