La Cultura Cura

National Comadres Newsletter #23 (April 2022)

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Reflections from Comadre Laura Tinajero
National Comadres Committee Member since 2013

Greetings Comadres

Even as a young child the spring marked for me a new year. It is a time for new beginnings, a time full of family traditions and celebrations. My favorite time of the year!

Like most Mexican immigrants in the Salinas Valley, my father worked and continues to work in agriculture. For the last 52 years, he has worked the land and followed the lettuce crop, seguia la corrida from Salinas, CA to Yuma, AZ. As a child I did not understand why my Apa had to leave us every year, I only felt the pain and sadness of not having him home with us. While the rest of the world welcomed the New Year on Jan 1st I always felt as though the New Year had not started. For me, the New Year started when my Apa would come home in March or April and was living with us under the same roof.  His return was a happy time for my siblings and me.

Along with my father’s arrival in the spring came birthday celebrations including my Abuelito’s birthday on April 19th! This meant that East Salinas was going to experience a lively rancho-style fiesta or pari as my Abuelita would say.  Family from all over would travel to Salinas to celebrate Don Jose Bañuelos, Tios, Tias, and Primos would come from Texas, Los Angeles, Stockton, and the Peninsula to celebrate this day. There was always great food and live music! We would dance zapatiadas to the tambora music until our feet and knees couldn’t hold us up anymore.

This was the time of the year that we celebrated Easter. This meant that without fail everyone ate lunch at my Abueltia’s house every Friday. Every Friday during Easter time my Abuelita would make us traditional foods such as fried fish, tortitas de camaron con huevo, tortas con huachales, chiles rellenos, nopales, tortillas de harina, and of course capirotada! With each bite of food, you could feel my Abuelita’s love.

As an adult I still celebrate the spring as my new year, it is still when my Apa comes home from Yuma. It is when I hear the birds sing at sunrise, it is when flowers start to bloom, it is when I wake to Tata Sol. As a spring baby, it marks a new year of life and new opportunities. It is the time of year that I am intentional about cultivating the seeds that I planted and moving forward on goals that I have set for myself. Spring is my favorite season.

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