RSSStories By Big Jim Griffith

Big Jim: Yaqui Easter

Big Jim: Yaqui Easter

Palm Sunday has come and gone, and Tucson’s Yaqui communities are beginning the culminating days of their annual Easter Ceremony. In my last blog I set the stage for you, so I’ll just cut to the chase. And a chase it is, with the Fariseos and…

April 15, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: The Yaqui Palm Sunday Fiesta

Big Jim: The Yaqui Palm Sunday Fiesta

Next Sunday is Palm Sunday — the beginning of Holy Week. For Yaquis, this means that the forty-day-long Passion Play they learned and adapted from Jesuit missionaries in the 1600s is moving toward its end. Every Friday evening in Lent, a reli…

April 11, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: San Ignacio Cabórica

Big Jim: San Ignacio Cabórica

As you drive through Ímuris on Highway, 15, you’ll probably notice a car from the Policia Federal de Caminos, or Federal Highway Police. It is not true that they are there to arrest folks who don’t stop to buy quesadillas, but I’ve never put …

April 08, 2014 12:00 am Photos

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Collection: The best of Big Jim Griffith's blog, “Our Storied Desert Land”

If there is a Tucson tale to be written or a Southwest fable to tell, chances are Jim Griffith has covered it in his Arizona Daily Star blog, “Our Storied Desert Land.” And today it hits a big milestone — 100. In one year, 100 blog entries a…

April 04, 2014 12:01 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: The Black Christ of Ímuris

Big Jim: The Black Christ of Ímuris

This story begins in 16th Century Guatemala, and winds up at our next virtual destination – Ímuris, Sonora. Patience, fleas; the night is long.

April 04, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

Big Jim: La Santa Muerte

Big Jim: La Santa Muerte

La Santa Muerte is an “outsider” to formally established religion, she appeals to other outsiders, especially to those who live beyond society’s safety nets and laws.

April 01, 2014 12:00 am Photos

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Big Jim: A visit to Tumacácori

Big Jim: A visit to Tumacácori

Tumacácori National Historical Park, a couple of miles south of Tubac, is well worth a visit. Here you can experience the other great institution of New Spain’s northern frontier — the mission.

March 28, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: The Tubac Presidio

Big Jim: The Tubac Presidio

Two great institutions of the imperial Spanish frontier (that’s where we live!) were the mission and the presidio. Missions and missionaries have figured in these blogs from time to time; now let’s take a look at a presidio. There are three v…

March 25, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: A new magazine, and old sauce, and a great story

Big Jim: A new magazine, and old sauce, and a great story

There’s a great new magazine in Tucson these days. Since last October, Edible Baja Arizona has been “celebrating the foodways of Tucson and the borderlands” every two months. It’s a truly classy production, averaging more than a hundred pages…

March 21, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: After the race was over ...

Big Jim: After the race was over ...

Leonardo Yañez, “el Nano,” composer of the corrido / Begs pardon of everyone. There is no doubt that / The chestnut from Agua Prieta won, / And the Moro de Cumpas lost.

March 18, 2014 12:00 am Photos

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Big Jim: A famous St. Patrick's Day horse race

Big Jim: A famous St. Patrick's Day horse race

If you ask any of the musicians who stroll our bars and restaurants to sing “El Moro de Cumpas,” chances are they will respond with a corrido or ballad whose beginning translates into English as

March 14, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: An Irish priest's story

Big Jim: An Irish priest's story

Sometimes jokes, like other stories, hide a deep truth behind their surface.

March 11, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: More traditional Lenten foods

Big Jim: More traditional Lenten foods

Capirotada is not the only special Mexican food associated with the Lenten season. Another is tortas de camarón, or shrimp fritters. These use dried shrimp, of the sort that can be found in markets that specialize in Mexican ingredients. If y…

March 07, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: Capirotada

Big Jim: Capirotada

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday — the beginning of Lent. For Catholics in particular, this forty-day season comes with food restrictions: occasional fast days, no meat on Friday, and the like.

March 04, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

Big Jim: More than 'Just a story'

Big Jim: More than 'Just a story'

Here’s something that happened while we were photographing those African-American quilts back in 1979.

February 28, 2014 12:00 am Photos

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Big Jim: African-American quilt design

Big Jim: African-American quilt design

I’m a folklorist, not an historian. My kind typically uses the past to help understand the present, rather than treating the past as subject matter in its own right. So I find myself turning Black History Month into Black Heritage Month for t…

February 25, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

Big Jim: A few thoughts about rodeo

Big Jim: A few thoughts about rodeo

The rodeo is almost over, but there’s still time to add a little context to this popular sport.

February 21, 2014 8:10 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: the Tucson Rodeo Parade

Big Jim: the Tucson Rodeo Parade

The 89th Tucson Rodeo Parade will take place this Thursday, starting at 9 a.m. The route goes south on Park Avenue from Ajo Way to Irvington Road, then west to Sixth Avenue, then north to the Rodeo Grounds, where it ends.

February 18, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: Tucson's fiddle contest is tomorrow

Big Jim: Tucson's fiddle contest is tomorrow

The annual Tucson Old-Time Fiddling Contest takes place tomorrow, Feb. 15, at San Miguel High School, 6601 S. San Fernando Ave. That’s south of Valencia and between Sixth and 12th avenues. Admission is free; the competition starts at 10 a.m.

February 14, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: Old-time fiddling

Big Jim: Old-time fiddling

I once asked famous bluegrass fiddler Leslie Keith about the difference between a violin and a fiddle. “Well, Jim,’ he replied, “you keep a violin in a beautiful tooled leather case, and you tote a fiddle around in an old flour sack.” In othe…

February 11, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: The Children's Shrine

Big Jim: The Children's Shrine

Just west of Gu Achi (Santa Rosa Village) near the center of Tohono O’odham Nation stands a beautiful shrine — one of the holiest places on that nation. It consists of a pile of flat rocks surrounded by a circle of peeled ocotillo stalks. Thi…

February 07, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: The story of the Ho'ok

Big Jim: The story of the Ho'ok

This story, which is part of a much longer narrative, is set near the Sonoran O’odham village of Pozo Verde, near the southern end of the Baboquivari Mountains.

February 04, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…

Big Jim: I'itoi kills the nehbig

Big Jim: I'itoi kills the nehbig

The setting is far to the west of Tucson, near present-day Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. At some point in the far-distant past, a huge animal called a nehbig came out of the ground and started sucking people into its maw.

January 31, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…

About this blog

Jim Griffith is the former director of the Southwest Folklore Center at the University of Arizona, and co-founder of Tucson Meet Yourself. He’s also the author of seven books on the folklore and folklife of our region, most recently “A Border Runs Through It.” His books can be purchased at azstarnet.com/wildcatgear.

If you have questions or suggestions for Jim Griffith or this blog, e-mail bigjimgriffith@gmail.com

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