RSSStories By Big Jim Griffith

Big Jim: A priest remembered 202 years later

Big Jim: A priest remembered 202 years later

Hear a story that has been told for more than 200 years.

September 19, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: Oquitoa and its church

Big Jim: Oquitoa and its church

Jim writes about the folklore of Southern Arizona and northern Sonora.

September 15, 2014 9:30 pm Related Loading…

Big Jim: The Pitiquito Punitive Expedition

Big Jim: The Pitiquito Punitive Expedition

I was told the following story by an elderly doctor from Pitiquito, Sonora, some of whose ancestors had been involved in the incident. The year was 1916. Pancho Villa had raided Columbus, New Mexico in March, killing several Americans. An exp…

June 13, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: The painted walls of Pitiquito

Big Jim: The painted walls of Pitiquito

Pitiquito is on Mexican Highway 2, just a few miles east of Caborca. The church of San Diego can be seen from the highway, and is well worth a visit for several reasons. It is a handsome building, lovely in its severity, though lacking in out…

June 10, 2014 12:00 am Photos

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Big Jim: The Black Christ of Aconchi

Big Jim: The Black Christ of Aconchi

The church of San Pedro de Aconchi, downstream on the Río Sonora from Huépac, has a Black Christ over the main altar. Although some local folks refer to it by its “proper” name of El Señor de Esquipulas, it also has legends similar to the one…

June 06, 2014 12:00 am Photos

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Big Jim: A church and a legend

Big Jim: A church and a legend

Huépac is the next village downstream from Banámichi, on the Río Sonora. By the way, when you go through Banámichi, look at the huge stone on a statuary base in the park just east of the road. The base is modern; the stone bears a complex des…

June 03, 2014 12:00 am Photos

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Big Jim: The Río Sonora

Big Jim: The Río Sonora

Mountain ranges in Sonora tend to run north and south, with rivers between them. At some point, the rivers turn west and run to the sea. The farther east you travel, rivers and mountains get larger, and the more accessible an older, tradition…

May 30, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

Big Jim: A thrice-blessed land

Big Jim: A thrice-blessed land

Eugene Manlove Rhodes was a writer of Westerns — a rather special one. From 1880 till 1905 he lived in southern New Mexico, working as a wrangler, cowboy, miner, and whatever else he turned his hand to. Then he married and spent the next deca…

May 27, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: An old-fashioned story

Big Jim: An old-fashioned story

March 15 came and went a month and a half ago, unnoticed and uncelebrated except by a few Civil War buffs. It was the 153rd anniversary of the Battle of Picacho Pass, the westernmost engagement of the American Civil War.

May 23, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: ...And another mural

Big Jim: ...And another mural

There’s a large tile mural on the west wall of the Diocesan building on the southeast corner of Broadway and Church, just east of 20 de Agosto Park. It is called “A City and a Church Arise Together,” and was commissioned by the Catholic Dioce…

May 20, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: A tale of two statues

Big Jim: A tale of two statues

There is a statue of Pancho Villa in downtown Tucson’s Veinte de Agosto Park, a small triangular grassy space right where Congress and Broadway join (or separate, depending on which way you are going). It is a dynamic representation of Villa …

May 16, 2014 12:00 am Photos

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Big Jim: A saint, a fiesta and a sculptor

Big Jim: A saint, a fiesta and a sculptor

May 15 is the day of San Ysidro Labrador — Saint Isidore the Farmer (1070-1130), of whom I wrote a year ago. He was the hired hand who spent so much time praying that God sent an angel to plow the field for him. He is the patron of farmers, a…

May 13, 2014 12:00 am Photos

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Big Jim: Mother's Day

Big Jim: Mother's Day

The month of May in Catholic tradition belongs to Mary, mother of Jesus. In a number of countries, including the United States and Mexico, the same month also contains Mothers’ Day — a popular holiday set aside for celebrating all mothers. He…

May 09, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: Saints, art, and history

Big Jim: Saints, art, and history

What are saints? In the Catholic Church, they are individuals who, while they lived, displayed the Christian virtues to such an extent that they were welcomed directly into heaven upon their death. Some lived well-documented lives; others are…

May 06, 2014 9:02 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: El Cinco de Mayo

Big Jim: El Cinco de Mayo

Monday is May 5 — El Cinco de Mayo. The first important thing about this holiday is this: it is not Mexican Independence Day. It commemorates the Mexican army’s victory in 1862 over a much larger and better-equipped French army, just outside …

May 02, 2014 12:05 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: Heroic Caborca in history and legend

Big Jim: Heroic Caborca in history and legend

The year was 1857. The United States had just won a war with Mexico and gained large stretches of territory thereby. Ambitious Americans called filibusteros were planning or trying to carve out their own Anglo-Saxon bits of territory in Latin…

April 29, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: The Mission Church at Caborca, Sonora

Big Jim: The Mission Church at Caborca, Sonora

I’ve often said that the Pimería Alta is one big natural, historical and cultural region, stretching from the Gila River south to the Río Concepción, and from the San Pedro River to the Gulf of California. The church we’ll virtually (and virt…

April 25, 2014 12:00 am Photos

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Big Jim: Cascarones

Big Jim: Cascarones

Those of you who attended the Yaqui Easter ceremonies last weekend doubtless had the opportunity to buy cascarones — decorated egg shells filled with confetti. (The singular is cascarón.) Cascarones are used all over the Mexican world, adding…

April 22, 2014 12:00 am Photos

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Big Jim: Pysanky — Ukranian Easter eggs

Big Jim: Pysanky — Ukranian Easter eggs

Over the past weeks, some Ukrainian-American women in Tucson have busied themselves in creating beautiful, intricate works of art — pysanky, or Ukrainian Easter eggs. Here’s how older women have told me they do it:

April 18, 2014 12:00 am Photos

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Big Jim: Yaqui Easter

Big Jim: Yaqui Easter

Palm Sunday has come and gone, and Tucson’s Yaqui communities are beginning the culminating days of their annual Easter Ceremony. In my last blog I set the stage for you, so I’ll just cut to the chase. And a chase it is, with the Fariseos and…

April 15, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: The Yaqui Palm Sunday Fiesta

Big Jim: The Yaqui Palm Sunday Fiesta

Next Sunday is Palm Sunday — the beginning of Holy Week. For Yaquis, this means that the forty-day-long Passion Play they learned and adapted from Jesuit missionaries in the 1600s is moving toward its end. Every Friday evening in Lent, a reli…

April 11, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: San Ignacio Cabórica

Big Jim: San Ignacio Cabórica

As you drive through Ímuris on Highway, 15, you’ll probably notice a car from the Policia Federal de Caminos, or Federal Highway Police. It is not true that they are there to arrest folks who don’t stop to buy quesadillas, but I’ve never put …

April 08, 2014 12:00 am Photos

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Collection: The best of Big Jim Griffith's blog, “Our Storied Desert Land”

Collection: The best of Big Jim Griffith's blog, “Our Storied Desert Land”

If there is a Tucson tale to be written or a Southwest fable to tell, chances are Jim Griffith has covered it in his Arizona Daily Star blog, “Our Storied Desert Land.” And today it hits a big milestone — 100. In one year, 100 blog entries a…

April 04, 2014 12:01 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: The Black Christ of Ímuris

Big Jim: The Black Christ of Ímuris

This story begins in 16th Century Guatemala, and winds up at our next virtual destination – Ímuris, Sonora. Patience, fleas; the night is long.

April 04, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

About this blog

Jim Griffith is the former director of the Southwest Folklore Center at the University of Arizona, and co-founder of Tucson Meet Yourself. He’s also the author of seven books on the folklore and folklife of our region, most recently “A Border Runs Through It.” His books can be purchased at tucson.com/wildcatgear.

If you have questions or suggestions for Jim Griffith or this blog, e-mail bigjimgriffith@gmail.com

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