September is the month when Spanish congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Southern Arizona typically celebrate their cultural heritage. Because many of the Independence Day dates of several Spanish-speaking countries fall in September, it is a time when the branches can showcase the traditions of their members. It is an opportunity for children to experience first-hand the rich music, food, dance and histories of their parents and grandparents.
In the Valencia Branch of the Tucson West Stake, all of the auxiliary organizations participated in a festive and colorful activity that brought together members of the branch with members of the greater community. Relief Society sisters sewed costumes for a traditional dance, “La Flor de Piña” or the Pineapple Flower, which they performed with stunning grace. The Young Women also displayed their talent in dancing the animated folkloric dance of “La Negra”. The local award-winning Mariachi Aztlan, of Pueblo High School performed for the fiesta with a medley of popular songs that were overwhelmingly appreciated by the audience.
In the Sonora Branch of the Tucson Stake, members also orchestrated a joyful activity with elaborate and bright costumes and a wealth of musical talents. Sister Maria La Madrid of the Sonora Branch of the Tucson Stake commented that it was “an excellent opportunity to remember our heritage.” Commenting on the variety of different heritages at these celebrations, Sister Bella Wright of the Valencia Branch explained that: “I am from Ecuador and I have the blessing of knowing the Mexican people and their culture and to be able to enjoy the music, dance, and food, and most of all the beautiful and generous people.”