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Meet the Southwest Folklife Alliance

Meet the Southwest Folklife Alliance

Students at the 2013 field School and an interested horse watch a coffee roasting demonstration by Ramona Ochoa in Las Delicias, in the Rio Sonora Valley. June, 2013, Jim Griffith photo.

15 hours ago
All-O'odham Fiddle Band Contest

All-O'odham Fiddle Band Contest

Members of the Nolic band after the All-O'odham Fiddle Band Contest, at the Wa:k Pow-wow, with San Xavier Mission in the background.

September 29, 2014 12:00 am
How San Antonio saved Oquitoa

How San Antonio saved Oquitoa

The interior of the church at Oquitoa. The statue of San Antonio holding the Christ Child is second from the top, over the altar. The two life-sized colonial statues at left were mentioned in an earlier blog.

September 23, 2014 12:00 am
A priest remembered 202 years later

A priest remembered 202 years later

The church at Oquitoa.

September 19, 2014 12:00 am
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…
The San Francisco statue in Magdalena

The San Francisco statue in Magdalena

Detail of the San Francisco statue in Magdalena, showing ex-votos (requests and/or thank-offerings) pinned to his clothing. Jim Griffith photo, May 8, 1999.

September 18, 2014 9:46 am
The San Francisco statue in Magdalena

The San Francisco statue in Magdalena

The statue of San Francisco in Magdalena as it appeared until last year, when it was moved to a new chapel. Notice the red flower placed in the statue's hand as an offering. The standing statue to the left represents St. Martin of Porres; the window depicts Xavier's missionary work in India.…

September 18, 2014 9:44 am
Oquitoa and its church

Oquitoa and its church

The 18th century church of San Antonio de Oquitoa.

September 15, 2014 9:30 pm
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 expedition commanded by General Pershing was sent int…

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 outside adornment. Inside are a number of nice coloni…

June 10, 2014 12:00 am Photos

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 I told earlier for the Black Christ of Ímuris. In…

June 06, 2014 12:00 am Photos

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 design of petroglyphs that some say is a map of the p…

June 03, 2014 12:00 am Photos

Photos

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Big Jim: The Río Sonora

Big Jim: The Río Sonora

The Rio Sonora Valley and Sinoquipe, from the west.

May 30, 2014 12:00 am
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, traditional Sonora becomes. Let’s spend some time on the Rí…

May 30, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Big Jim: The painted walls of Pitiquito

Big Jim: The painted walls of Pitiquito

The oldest level of murals in the church at Pitiquito. Jim Griffith photo

May 29, 2014 11:28 am
Big Jim: The painted walls of Pitiquito

Big Jim: The painted walls of Pitiquito

The church of San Diego de Pitiquito from the west. Like many of Sonora's mission churches, this one stands on high ground, both for flood protection and defense. Jim Griffith photo.

May 29, 2014 11:23 am
Big Jim: The painted walls of Pitiquito

Big Jim: The painted walls of Pitiquito

The interior of the church at Pitiquito showing the Virgin of the Apoclypse. To the right is the skeleton that was the first mural painting to reappear. Over the skeleton's head are the words that King Belshazzar saw at his feast, which Daniel interpreted to mean that the days of the King's …

May 29, 2014 11:24 am
Big Jim: The Black Christ of Aconchi

Big Jim: The Black Christ of Aconchi

The statue of El Sr. de Esquipulas, or the Black Christ of Aconchi as it is today. Church of San Pedro de Aconchi. Jim Griffith photo.

May 27, 2014 4:29 pm
Big Jim: The Black Christ of Aconchi

Big Jim: The Black Christ of Aconchi

The church of San Pedro de Aconchi. The Franciscan Arms appear over the door. Jim Griffith photo.

May 27, 2014 4:28 pm
Big Jim: The Black Christ of Aconchi

Big Jim: The Black Christ of Aconchi

The face of the original Black Christ as it was saved from the quemasantos in 1934. La Labor, Sonora. The head is now in the Hermosillo area. Jim Griffith photo.

May 27, 2014 4:21 pm
Big Jim: A church and a legend

Big Jim: A church and a legend

The San Lorenzo statue in Huépac. Note the milagros in the background.

May 27, 2014 2:00 pm
Big Jim: A church and a legend

Big Jim: A church and a legend

The interior of the Huépac church, showing the magnificent corbelled ceiling. This kind of complex woodwork is a distant legacy of Moorish Spain.

May 27, 2014 2:00 pm
Big Jim: A church and a legend

Big Jim: A church and a legend

The Church of San Lorenzo de Huépac.

May 27, 2014 2:00 pm
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 decades farming in upstate New York and missing deeply…

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 Diocese of Tucson and executed by the Tohono O’oldham a…

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 on horseback, created by Mexico’s famous sculptor …

May 16, 2014 12:00 am Photos

Photos

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Big Jim: A tale of two statues

Big Jim: A tale of two statues

The monument to the victims of San Pedro de la Cueva. The statue, by Pedro Calles, is of Padre Andres Flores, the thirty-five-year-old priest whom Pancho Villa personally shot. Jim Griffith photo.

May 14, 2014 12:00 am
Big Jim: A saint, a fiesta and a sculptor

Big Jim: A saint, a fiesta and a sculptor

The Risen Lord by Pedro Calles, in the church at Matape, Sonora. This soaring statue is one of Calles' later works.

May 13, 2014 12:00 am
Big Jim: A saint, a fiesta and a sculptor

Big Jim: A saint, a fiesta and a sculptor

Life-sized statue of San Ysidro by Pedro Calles, complete with angel and oxen, in the chapel of the Hacienda de los Amador, Suaqui, Sonora. The watermelon is also Calles' work. Note the carrying litter for processions and the offering of wheat. Jim Griffith photo, 2002.

May 13, 2014 12:00 am
Big Jim: A saint, a fiesta and a sculptor

Big Jim: A saint, a fiesta and a sculptor

El Señor de los Afligidos (The Lord of the Afflicted Ones) by Pedro Calles, in a private chapel in Colonia Villa Seris, Hermosillo, Sonora. This deeply emotional statue of Christ is another of Calles' late works. The head and face show evidence of Calles' classical training at the Academy. T…

May 13, 2014 12:00 am
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, and is often prayed to in Mexico to help bring rain…

May 13, 2014 12:00 am Photos

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. Here it’s on the second Sunday in May; in Mexico, on May 10.

May 09, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…
Big Jim: Saints, art, and history

Big Jim: Saints, art, and history

The reclining statue of San Francisco in its old chapel in Magdalena. Popular belief has it that when the statue was carried through Magdalena towards Tucson in Father Kino's day, the saint indicated his desire to stay in Magdalena by making his statue immobile. The saint is also believed to…

May 06, 2014 9:08 am
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 visible only through the murky lens of pious trad…

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 the city of Puebla. Just how did that French army …

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 America. Such a man was Henry Alexander Crabb. A …

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 virtuously) visit today provides proof of that statement.

April 25, 2014 12:00 am Photos

Photos

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Big Jim: Heroic Caborca in history and legend

Big Jim: Heroic Caborca in history and legend

The illustration shows a mural on the front wall of the Hotel Suites Tohono O’odham in Puerto Peñasco. The mural, signed by Ernesto Jaime M. and dated March 16, 2003, is itself a copy of a painting by the late, prolific Epifaneo Morales of Ímuris. The mural shows the church at the moment of …

April 22, 2014 3:04 pm
Big Jim: The Mission Church at Caborca, Sonora

Big Jim: The Mission Church at Caborca, Sonora

The restored and replastered mission church of La Purisima Concepcion de Caborca. The convento wing is at the left; a balancing arcade is to the right. Jim Griffith photo

April 22, 2014 10:43 am
Big Jim: The Mission Church at Caborca, Sonora

Big Jim: The Mission Church at Caborca, Sonora

The sanctuary arch by the main altar at Caborca, showing the recently uncovered and restored murals. As is the case in San Xavier del Bac, this church is tied together by a sculptural Franciscan cord, clearly visible here. Jim Griffith photo

April 22, 2014 10:46 am
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 to the excitement of parties by being broken over…

April 22, 2014 12:00 am Photos

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

Photos

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Big Jim: Cascarones

Big Jim: Cascarones

Folklorico cascaron in full costume. Jim Griffith photo.

April 16, 2014 11:00 am
Big Jim: Cascarones

Big Jim: Cascarones

A pair of Easter cascarones. I have also seen cascarones specific to Christmas and the Day of the Dead. All photos by Jim Griffith, taken between 1980 and 2000.

April 16, 2014 11:00 am
Big Jim: Cascarones

Big Jim: Cascarones

Stemless penguin cascaron. Note the innovative use of punched paper. Jim Griffith photo

April 16, 2014 11:00 am

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