Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Easter in the Mesilla Valley

LAS CRUCES  –  Elders gathering with arms full of desert materials to teach traditions to a new generation. Sweet, spicy treats that warm the heart and palate. Little kids (including my then-tiny grandson), screaming with excitement as they scramble to pick up eggs and candy.
As I talked to people about their memories of their favorite spring outfits this week, I realized my memory banks have garnered some rich deposits in the more than two decades since I moved to the Mesilla Valley. Many of the best center around this time of year.
I’ve been privileged to sit and spent some time in the village of Tortugas, while residents shared stories, prepared traditional feast foods and just before Easter, gathered to make ramos
In the village of Tortugas, elders will be making ramos using fragrant cedar branches, stacks of yucca palm fronds, river reeds, Spanish Dagger and other desert plants, to be distributed for Palm Sunday celebrations at the Sanctuario de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe. It's a tradition that dates back more than a century here.

"About 30 of us get together a week or so before Palm Sunday. Some of us have been making ramos for many, many years," said David Fierro of Las Cruces.

At temples and area homes, the Jewish community will celebrate Passover with gatherings and traditional meals.

Throughout the Mesilla Valley, we'll add to spiritual celebrations with our own All-American and Southwestern touches.

Whatever our personal religious affiliations, many of us will join new and old gatherings that have become community favorites in the region, from egg hunts and fiestas to a multimedia show of music and lights.

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