Category Archives: Culture

Hispanic Cultural Events-Portland, Oregon

As part of my mission to raise bilingual and bi-cultural children, I love taking the family to community and cultural events. It’s not only important, but an absolute necessity that a bilingual child be exposed the a second language/culture from many angles in order to value the relevancy of the language in every day life. The following is a list of many of the organizations/businesses that host events that I keep on my radar. Most (if not all) of these events are family friendly. The list in an evolving work in progress.

Centro Cultural (Cornelius, Oregon)

Adelante Mujeres (Forest Grove, Oregon)

El Grito y Fiestas Patrias in downtown Portland (Pioneer Square) on Sept. 15

Someday Lounge (Portland, OR) hosts an all-ages Dia De Muertos parade and altar making celebration.

Various Washington County Libraries have storytimes in Spanish and often hosts Hispanic cultural events

Portland Art Museum- often has exhibitions and events for the Hispanic Heritage Month of October

Grupo Condor– a touring folk music ensemble based in Portland, Oregon that embodies traditional musical styles of all of Spanish-speaking America.

Teatro Milagro– The Northwest’s premiere Latino arts and culture organization

Catholic Churches- Many local churches with large Latino congregations host fiestas for the Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12th) and Las Posadas (December 16th-December 24th)

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta -Portland Waterfront Park

Educate Ya– fostering social change, cultural integration, professionalism, and wellness education in the Latino communities

Voz– an organization that empowers immigrants and day laborers to gain control over their working conditions through leadership development, organizing, and community education

KBOO Community Radio (90.7 fm in the Portland area) Every Sunday from noon to 7pm is programming in Spanish of interest to the Portland area

PCUN Radio Station-Oregon’s Farmworker Union Radio Station out of Woodburn, Oregon has children’s programming (think Alvin and the Chipmunks in Spanish) on Saturdays from 2-5 pm. You can stream it here.

el Hispanic News Events Calendar

Mirada Latina Magazine on Facebook sometimes lists some fun events. So does Pdxlatino

Portland Latin America Film Festiival- Usually in September or October

Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce hosts a Latino Cultural Festival, usually held in April or May

Salsa en la Calle– A fun, family friendly dance party held on the east side of the Willamette River in August

The Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg hosts a really fun Day of the Dead exhibit in October complete with crafts for the kids

Glenn and Viola Waters Cultural Center in Hillsboro has some fun things going on sometimes

Dia de los Muertos NW appear in costume throughout the year in the Portland area

Washington County History Museum recently had an exhibit about the Bracero program. They might have other culturally relevant things going on!

Ten Tiny Dances is a twice yearly event that features creativity and public performance of many different cultures, including the Hispanic Culture.

Ballet Folklorico México en la Piel, Ballet Folklorico Lo Nuestro and Ballet Folklorico Sol Azteca are the local Mexican dance troupes. Unfortunately, they don’t post events on their Facebook pages or otherwise online, but I love to see them dance!

Woodburn Fiesta Mexicana is usually held in early August



Even though I live in one of the most economically fortunate countries in the world (in many ways), saving money is not easy. Growing up I never wanted for the necessities and even had enough extra for vacations, air conditioning, restaurant dinners-pretty much anything. I had never really thought about the planning and saving that my parents did in order to make that kind of lifestyle possible. Now I know.

My husband is from rural Mexico. There were times growing up where he had no shoes. His family is thankful for a meal of beans and tortillas. Sometimes for weeks on end that is was all they ate.

As you can imagine, the challenge of coming to an agreement with our own personal finances is tremendous. I have certain expectations with respect to lifestyle, I want to plan for the financial future. I suspect that my husband feels guilty spending money on things, imaging how his family in Mexico has (and likely still is) suffering to put beans on the table. The idea that you can put money aside, with no intended purpose or need, is foreign to him.

Antonio Aguilar, an iconic Mexican singer and actor, wrote a well-known song, Un Puño De Tierra. It could be my husband’s credo. The chorus of the song goes like this:

El día que yo me muera (The day I die)

No voy a llevarme nada (I won’t take anything with me)
Hay darle gusto al gusto (You have to give into life’s pleasures)
La vida pronto se acaba (Life soon ends)

Lo que paso en este mundo (Whatever happens in this world)
Nomas los recuerdos quedan (Only memories are left)
Ya muerto voy a llevarme (I won’t take anything with me in death)
Nomas un puño de tierra (Only a handful of dirt)

So, I was fascinated to find out that in his region of Mexico, it is common to particpate in a Tanda, which is a grass-roots savings/credit plan. Here is how it works:

Say you need $400 right now for whatever reason (home repair, medical reason, a burial). You get 3 other people to each participate in a Tanda, person A, person B, person C and person D. Each person agrees to put in $100 each week for 4 weeks. In week one person A receives the Tanda, thereby receiving $300, plus their own $100. In week two person B receives the Tanda and in week three person C receives and so on until everyone is paid back.

I know, I know. Your brain is thinking “What’s the incentive? Shouldn’t people be paid back $110?” But this is the beauty of it! A Tanda is created out of need, not greed and the spirit is truly one of generosity and cooperation within the community.

Creative and resourceful, huh?  A Tanda could be created with any number of people, any length of time and any dollar amount. Default probably isn’t a big issue in a small town where you would be hounded relentlessly if you didn’t follow through with your end of the deal.

So what do you think? Anyone up for a Tanda?

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Posted by on August 14, 2012 in Culture, Música, Spanish