Cape Verdean Festival 'keeps our culture alive,' strengthens relationships

Aug 13, 2017

To the Editor:

This super fabulous weekend is over and believe me, it was terrific. Across the United States, many Cape Verdeans arrived to share cultural ideas, hugs, comradeship and love.

It all started with Oak Grove Cape Verdean Culture, Inc.’s Pre-Festival Annual Dance where you, family and friends sat down for old fashioned Cape Verdean food fare and then got up and danced to rocking (can’t sit down anymore ) music! More and more locals and visiting Cape Verdeans are realizing this is the official way to really start this memorable weekend.

Then the big Saturday arrives and the festival jumps to wide awake capacity with an array of foods, businesses and people. Lots of Cape Verdeans came to Onset knowing they would not be disappointed.

Oak Grove Cape Verdean Cultural Center, Inc.’s motto, “Keeping Our Culture Alive,” was evident everywhere, especially at our souvenir merchandise booth. This year there were many adult children with their parents, aunties and uncles or grandparents. They came as one caring for each other and caring for all. They purchased our popular original food series T-shirts, saying, “Mom, remember when you taught me how to make this?” or, “This makes me think so much of home."

Younger generations are, I see, being more expressively culturally knowledgeable with their children. Now it is the children themselves proudly asking for the T-shirts in their sizes and even buying for their friends. This is a real example of “Keeping Our Culture Alive."

There were many touching moments at our souvenir merchandise booth this year and there are a couple I must share with you.

A son came with his aging, beautiful Cape Verdean mom and showed her our CV food series T-hirts featuring Goofongu, Coos Coos, Jag and Linguica and Munchupa. He was fully thrilled when she responded with unending joy at seeing the actual colorful cuisine printed on the T-shirt. Her eyes twinkled and glazed over as she said, "Oh my!" He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “She loved cooking all this many times for me.” He purchased one of each for his mom and for himself. His mom turned to go and he came near whispering to me, “She has Alzheimer's, but did you see too how she glowed at seeing these shirts? Thank you," he said squeezing my hand. “Thank you so very much for this moment. I will cherish it always.”

We unveiled a new fundraiser project this year: photo boards. Should you visit Cabo Verde even today, you will see men working the fields and women carrying water in containers on their heads walking home on the roadways. This is very characteristic of our homeland. Our photo boards are life-size so one can stand behind them and show your head through the head hole while someone takes your picture. In this way, you have a photo remembrance that is pop style, lighthearted yet authentic.

Well, here came a little boy about 7 years old and he was so excited. His mom explained to me that he, at age 5, had gone to Cabo Verde with his grandmother. While there, he was fascinated with how the men tilled the soil and decided he wants to be a “farmer to grow things." Our photo boards display a Cape Verdean man toiling in the fields with a hoe and separately a Cape Verdean woman carrying a container of water. Of course, the little boy had to have his picture taken. Being so small, he and I went to the back of the photo board and I held him up so he could poke his head through the open hole. Now he was the farmer with a big grin on his face while his mom took the photo. I watched him look at his mom’s smartphone photo and he was smiling happily and thanked his mom. Again my heart was jostled. He had recognized the farmer on the photo board and his vacation memory with his grandma came to life.

What I shared with you are moments that we all have the capacity to create every day. These were just two incidents where loving caregivers thought of the joy they could graciously extend to others and yet, by doing so received greater blessings for themselves.

Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by our souvenir merchandise booth. More importantly, thank you for “Keeping Our Culture Alive” in your communities and in your personal lives.

Marian J. Rose
President, Oak Grove Cape Verdean Culture, Inc.

Comments (1)
Posted by: cranberry scoop | Aug 14, 2017 22:17

It was a really nice festival. I'm not Cape Verdean and I had a nice time. How wonderful for all of the families that connected over shared heritage and culture. Congratulations on this huge success!!


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