Deschutes Public Library News
Reclaiming Sacred Places
Posted By: Liz Goodrich
Date Posted: 4/11/2006
As part of the Deschutes Public Library’s A Novel Idea … Read Together, Oregon Chautauqua scholar, Gabriella Ricciardi presents a program titled “Reclaiming Sacred Spaces: The Altar Tradition in Mexican American Homes,” on Saturday, April 15 at 2:00 p.m. at the Redmond Public Library. The presentation is part of the Novel Idea … Read Together, community-reading project offered by Deschutes Public Library and the Deschutes Public Library Foundation. The program is free and open to the public and is sponsored in part by the Oregon Council for the Humanities.
Traditions and expressions of everyday activities play a fundamental role in people’s lives. The home altar tradition is an example of an early religious folk expression still practiced today by women of different religious beliefs and diverse cultural backgrounds. The importance of such traditions, however, seem particularly heightened in transnational communities such as the Mexican American community of Oregon. In these communities, altars and their accompanying folk religious practices give women the powers of affirmation and recognition of the self. At the same time, the altar tradition builds a link between the country of origin and the country of adoption. These commonplace yet very private practices ultimately serve to keep the culture alive for those practitioners and their families. Moreover, for most Mexican immigrants, religious beliefs are an essential part of their transnational identity, which faces continuous change and uncertainty. Pacific University professor Gabriella Ricciardi discusses her research on the home altar tradition in this slide-illustrated lecture.
During the month of April, the Library will be hosting a variety of events in support of the Novel Idea … Read Together project. The programs are designed to give residents of Deschutes County a context for better understanding this year’s selected novel, González & Daughter Trucking Co. by María Amparo Escandón. The tale of Libertad, her father and her fellow inmates at the Mexicali Penal Institution for Women, is a story that has feet planted firmly on both sides of the U.S. and Mexican boarder and explores the themes of family, freedom, redemption and the power of storytelling. For a complete listing of Novel Idea programs, please call 312-1032.