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January     February     March     April     May     June     July     August     September     October     November     December

April

Cascarones

Photograph from The Monitor, Friday, April 17, 1992

Cascarones are a uniquely southern Texas and northern Mexico tradition. Eggs were used as a symbol of spring, new life, and birth in many early civilizations. Early Christians associated eggs with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In medieval Europe, eggs were forbidden during Lent, and any eggs laid during that time were hard boiled to help preserve them. They were then eaten as a special treat after Lent. Easter traditions throughout the northern regions of Europe and America center around dyed and colored hard boil eggs. The eggs were hard boiled and colored before easter, hidden, and then enjoyed by the family after the Easter egg hunt. The cascaron (egg shell) is a southern European tradition originally brought from China by Marco Polo. It became popular in Italy, Spain, and France and finally introduced to Mexico. Originally cascarones were filled with perfumes or scented powders. Filling the cascarones with confetti is a uniquely Mexican tradition. More information about cascarones and other traditions may be found in the Library Special Collections Room 112 (just past the Circulation Desk on the left).

Additional Information from the Monitor Article written in 1992: Page 1 and Page 2.

January

The Republic of the Rio Grande

Photograph from Images of The Republic of the Rio Grande; Texans in Mexico, 1839-40 LRGV F390.L5 c.1 1964

In January, 1840 the short-lived, and little-known Republic of the Rio Grande was formed. This was a time when Mexico had recently gained her independence, and Texas had formed its own republic. Texas had not yet been annexed by the United States and the Republic’s southern boundary was still under dispute, some claiming it should be the Rio Grande, and others claiming it should be the Nueces River. The U.S. – Mexican boundary would not be set for another eight years after the Mexican American War and Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848.

In Mexico there was a struggle between Centralists who believed the power should be centralized in Mexico City, and Federalists who believed far-flung areas, such as the northern states along the Rio Grande should retain more power and control over their lands and people. Federalists met in Laredo in January, proclaimed the Republic of the Rio Grande by constitutional convention, named Laredo as its capitol, and claimed the areas of Tamaulipas and Coahuila north to the Nueces and Medina rivers, respectively, and Nuevo León, Zacatecas, Durango, Chihuahua, and New Mexico.

The leaders of the Republic of Rio Grande traveled to San Antonio, Houston, and Austin seeking support, as they fought against Mexican Centralists at Morales and Saltillo in Coahuila to Ciudad Victoria in Tamaulipas. Early in November, 1840, Antonio Canales, one of the major leaders of the Republic of the Rio Grande, capitulated to Centralists at Camargo, Mexico, The dream of the Republic of the Rio Grande died, just 10 short months after its inception.

December

Bethlehem on the Rio Grande

Painting by Stephen T. Rascoe

"Each year the Nativity story is told at La Encantada in a Spanish folk play 800 years old."  Read a page from Bethlehem on the Rio Grande by Minnie C. Gilbert.

November

La Lomita and the mystery of Father Keralum, “the Martyr of Hidalgo County”

Photograph from Images of Mission LRGV F394.M57 I43 2003 p.29

141 years ago in November 1872 Father Pierre Yves Kéralum (1817–1872?) of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate rode out on his horse to complete his circuit of ranches to perform religious services. In 1872, people and ranches were far between, and towns and churches even more distant. Priests rode the circuit a few times a year in order to provide services to those ranches where there were otherwise few options for baptisms, marriages, catechisms, and sermons. Father Kéralum made it to his first destination, the Tampacuas Ranch north of Mercedes, but never arrived at Las Piedras Ranch which was only 18 miles distant. Despite intensive searches at the time Father Kéralum was not found until 10 years later in November 1882 when his bones were found in the brush lying next to his Holy Chalice, his watch, and his golden cross.

La Lomita Chapel was built by the Fathers of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate to aid in their travels throughout the harsh country amongst the wide-spread ranches of the Rio Grande Valley. The lands for La Lomita were willed to the Oblate priests Pierre F. Parisot and Pierre Y. Kéralum by René Guyard, a French merchant from Reynosa. The town of Mission is named in honor of La Lomita Mission. La Lomita ("little hill") served as a way-station between two of the biggest towns north of the river at the time: Brownsville and Roma, and served as a central location for the sixty-five or so ranches in Hidalgo County. St. Peter’s Novitiate, a large three-story brick building, was built nearby on top of the hill. In 1975 La Lomita was entered in the National Register of Historic Places. La Lomita is located off Farm Road 1016 near the Rio Grande five miles south of Mission. More information about Father Kéralum and La Lomita may be found in the Library Special Collections Room 112 (just past the Circulation Desk on the left).

National American Indian & Alaskan Native Heritage Month

Photograph from Returning Lipan Apache women's laws, lands, & power in El Calaboz Rancheria, Texas-Mexico border = Nádasi'né' nde' isdzáné begoz'aahi' shimaa shini' gokal gowa goshjaa ha''áná'idilí texas-nakaiyé godesdzog LRGV E99.L5 T36 2010a p.554

The first American Indians lived in this region hundreds of years before the first European walked along the Rio Grande. Unfortunately little is known about the original inhabitants; they did not leave histories of their tribes, and the Spanish had little interest in keeping complete and accurate records of tribes, customs, or languages. Archaeological explorations and artifacts such as arrowheads have helped to build a better picture of the first inhabitants, yet there is still much more we can learn. There were originally two primary groups of tribes in this region. The Karankawas lived along the Gulf Coast, and a loosely-named collection of tribes called the Coahuiltecans lived in what is now southern Texas and northeastern Mexico. During the 1700s Europeans expanded into Indian territories from the north and from the south, displacing tribes such as the Comanches, who then displaced other tribes such as the Lipan Apaches.

Today Lipan Apache Indians and other regional tribes are still active, attending meetings and holding Powwows. More information about Native Americans in the Lower Rio Grande Valley may be found in the Library Special Collections Room 112 (just past the Circulation Desk on the left).

October

Killer Bees

On October 15, 1990 Africanized Honey Bees, commonly termed Killer Bees, were first sighted near the city of Hidalgo, Texas. In 1992 Mayor John David Franz of Hidalgo unveiled a 10 foot tall statue of a killer bee. Visit the city of Hidalgo to see the Killer Bee, and while you are there visit the old county courthouse and jail built in 1886, and the Hidalgo Pump House Museum. More information about killer bees and things to do and see in the Lower Rio Grande Valley may be found in the Library Special Collections.