Every weekend across Southern California, Mexicans prepare for a parade of weddings, baptisms, birthdays, quinceañeras, golden anniversaries, and more. We rent labor halls, community centers, church multipurpose rooms, VWF posts—really, anywhere than can squeeze in a couple hundred people for a dinner followed by a massive dance party. We couldn’t host such parties in someone’s backyard, or a park. When your village transplants itself to a new country, so does the custom of inviting everyone and their second cousins.
Over the decades, certain venues become favored facilities for a specific diaspora—that is, villages and cities with a huge population here. Each has its circuit, and examining the choices tells a surprising story of immigration.
Many start with humble spaces near their homes, then slowly rent fancier spots as members find success en los Estados Unidos and make professional connections. Their fully assimilated children go even higher-end, while newer members start at the humble ones—and the circle continues.
That’s how we did it in my ancestral community: Jerez, Zacatecas, specifically the ranchos of El Cargadero (where my mom is from) and Jomulquillo, the birthplace of my father. Thousands of people with ties to Jerez and its many ranchos live across the Southland, with the biggest concentrations in Anaheim, Montebello, the San Fernando Valley, and Inland Empire. For the past 40 years, people from Jerez have used the venues mapped here again and again for some of the biggest days of our lives.Read More