Since the first ever Viva Quad Cities Fiesta that took place along River Drive in Moline, Ill. a lot has changed not just with Viva but with other festivities in the surrounding communities and also within us. What was more of a Mexican Independence Day Celebration has now grown immensely and features a lot more diverse acts, with this year featuring dances from Brazil and a Bolivia folkloric dance group which you can read more
about in this issue. As this event and others like it in Sterling, Ill. and Muscatine, Iowa have grown and evolved we too have experienced a better understanding of our culture in and around our communities by attending; but it is a process that should never stop.
While in the 90s the fiestas revolved around the lively banda music that was popular at the time, we have come to realize that the Hispanic community likes more than banda music and we have just as many differences within our community than the general population. We are not just “Mexicans”, and as Hispanics we like cumbias (tropicales, norteñas, and the many other kinds), duranguense, corridos, norteñas, salsa, merengue, bachata, rock (in English and Spanish), hip-hop (also in English and Spanish), reggaeton, R&B and even country. Hispanics don’t always speak Spanish and come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and they sometimes don’t consider themselves Hispanics. The fiestas have evolved to try and please a large segment of the Hispanics while at the same time inviting the general population to experience a sample of the treasure chest that is the Hispanic culture. We too as immigrants and descendants of immigrants have let other people of different cultures into our lives, just like the fiestas.
I believe the best way to truly take part in a cultural enrichment one needs to make an effort to learn something new; whether it is about a different culture or your very own. Even if you don’t get a chance to see the new dance groups coming to the area, check out the Quad Cities Ballet Folklorico which performs regularly in our region. Ask your parents or grandparents what life was like when they were young either growing up here in the United States or whichever country they came from; but you might want to remind them to tell you a new story. Read about those who came here before you and about those who are still coming this day. Check out our calendar of events and I’m sure you can find something that will help enrich your cultural understandings. And in another 15 years we’ll look back and see how our fiestas, customs and our families have evolved.