Posted by paulrivas on:
During this Old Spanish Days time of year, when white people are more inspired than ever to eat Mexican food, cultural understanding is at a premium. This Fiesta, Rivas Cultural Services has asked Santa Barbara Man About Goleta to explain, once and for all, why some people insist on saying Fiestas, plural, when talking about Fiesta, singular, as in, "It's Fiestas!" or "Are you going to Fiestas tonight?"
What's their deal? Why can't they just say Fiesta like the rest of us? And why does it seem to be only Mexicans and their associates who can't get it right?
In Spanish, fiesta generally means "party". Dos fiestas means "two parties". (Tres fiestas is a desmadre, but that's neither here nor there.) However, the word fiestas in the plural, all by itself or when followed by an adjective describing the nature of the parties to be celebrated, usually refers to a widely celebrated day or period of parties. Fiestas navideñas are Christmas-season celebrations, and fiestas patrias is the general term for the national celebrations that take place in Latin American countries around their various independence days. For example, Mexico's fiestas patrias are September 15-16. That's why some people (Mexicans, mostly) say Fiestas instead of Fiesta.
Regarding Santa Barbara's Fiesta, the beautiful, talented and highly intelligent young woman pictured above is one of your Santa Barbara Man About Goleta's 30 cousins from the Mexican-American half of the family. Her name is Mercedes, a Spanish word often meaning "mercies". The Lompoc native is named after our Mexican great-grandmother, but our family pronounces her name like the name of the luxury automobile brand, which quickly led to her more often-heard nickname of Sadie, which brings to mind American hillbillies.
Mercedes will be dancing in the various Fiesta events around town on Saturday listed below. If you check out her show, tell her that Cousin Paul says "hi" and that you're down with Fiestas!
10am - Children's Parade
Noon - El Paseo
2:30pm - Courthouse
3:45pm - MacKenzie Park
5:15pm - Our Lady of Guadalupe
8pm (tentative) - Courthouse
(Photo by India Madden)