Goliad's Cinco de Mayo celebration revives Mexican culture
By BY J.R. ORTEGA
May 1, 2013 at 12:01 a.m.
This week, I spent some time rediscovering my inner Mexican.
As ridiculous as it may sound, my generation and those after me are slowly losing touch with their Mexican-American roots.
Late Monday night, I was in the mood to listen to some real Tejano music. I listened to all the greats, Elida y Avante, La Mafia, Gloria Trevi and, of course, Selena.
Tuesday night, my partner and I cooked enchiladas, the same recipe his grandmother used.
I also read some stories from The Associated Press aloud in Spanish, just to get my tongue used to the dialect.
So why do I bring all this up? With Cinco de Mayo this weekend, I've really thought about where I came from.
Not only that but also the city of Goliad refuses to let our history die, and we should refuse to let that history die within us - no matter what your race.
You don't have to be Mexican-American to appreciate this celebration. It's part of our state.
The fifth of May commemorates the Mexican victory over the French in 1862 Battle of Puebla.
Every year, Goliad puts on Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, a weekend-long celebration because General Ignacio Zaragoza, the battle's hero, was born in La Bahia, two miles south of current-day Goliad. The events begin Friday and end Sunday.
I'll admit, my heritage has gone to the wayside. My Spanish language skills have never been impeccable, English is my first language.
I'm a third-generation Mexican-American. My parents and grandfathers and one of my grandmothers were born in America.
For me, life was very Americanized. My grandmother spoke only Spanish but understood English. I spoke only English but understood Spanish. Eventually, we would meet halfway, I'd speak English, she would nod or give short, broken English replies, and I would give short, Spanish replies.
My parents divorced when I was young, so when I say grandparents, I speak of my mom's side. Unfortunately for me, my grandparents died recently, as did my mom - so it's pretty much just me.
Because of this, there is so much I didn't appreciate or get to learn - how to make tamales, what was that at-home remedy grandma used to make or even that "bendicion," or blessing, my mom used to chant that would cure the "evil eye?"
All that is gone, but because of Goliad's persistence to keep history alive, I'm realizing I need to revive who I am deep inside and keep my culture alive.
I want to read some of my favorite novels that are translated into Spanish.
We should all take time to visit Goliad. They have some pretty amazing events lined up, like live entertainment, including conjunto music, Mariachi performances, ballet folklorico dancers and Tejano and country music.
Other events include a barbecue cook-off and rides for children.
The fiesta is free, and plenty of vendors will be there for you to browse and shop.
So what are you waiting for? Arriba, arriba!