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[graphic] November 2004

Pascua Cultural Plaza, with the Capilla at the far end of the plaza
Photo courtesy of Pascua Neighborhood Center

Located in Tucson, Arizona, the Pascua Cultural Plaza is a sacred ceremonial site for the Yoeme (Yaqui) people, serving the oldest formally established Yoeme community in Tucson. The Yoeme have continuously used the Pascua Cultural Plaza for their ceremonies since 1921, when the community was first established. Today, the plaza remains the focus of religious, cultural and social events. The dances, processions and other ceremonial activities that take place here promote and educate the younger members of the Yoeme tribe about the traditional cultural practices of their people. The ceremonies are both pre-Christian and Christian in origin and are conducted to honor or bless events and/or person, both Yoeme and non-Yoeme persons. Ceremonial fiestas occur throughout the year, but of great importance are The Day of the Findings of the Holy Cross on May 3rd, Name Day of St. Ingatius of Loyola on July 31st, Day of All Saints on November 1st and 2nd, and Holy Week, or Easter, in March or April.

Capilla San Ignacio de Loyola
Photo courtesy of Pascua Neighborhood Center

The plaza consists of a 1.7-acre lot, with a chapel, the Capilla San Ignacio de Loyola (Chapel of St. Ignatius of Loyola), a community kitchen and fiesta ramada, an altar with a space for performances. The plaza contains a handful of non-permanent ceremonial objects; two small dirt mounds, one located near a fiesta cross, and the other one in proximity to the north end of the capilla, while the rest of the plaza basically consists of a cleared lot. The low mounds serve as “camps” during Easter ceremonies, where participants can rest and store their cultural regalia, which consist of objects such as masks, swords, and daggers. The cultural plaza is now part of the Pascua Neighborhood Center, which provides for cultural ceremonial needs, as well as services for the local community's youths, adults and seniors. It is located at 785 W. Sahuaro in Tucson, and is open Monday-Friday from 8:00am to 9:00pm.


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