It began years ago with a promise—a promise by a grieving father for his deceased son. Fidel and Rosa Rios of Corcoran have held a celebration every December, the weekend prior to Dec. 12 which is the recognized Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe (Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe), who is a popular Catholic Saint. The feast celebrates the belief that a man encountered the Mary, the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City on Dec. 12, 1531. Many faithful Catholics celebrate this day with a feast much like Rosa and Fidel Rios of Corcoran.
Rosa and Fidel began to hold the event, with the help of extended family members, in 1996. They started it in honor of their son, Jose Guadalupe Rios, who was born Dec. 12, 1971 and who passed away Sept. 12, 1972 at just nine months old.
“Fidel made a promise to do this in memory of his son,” said Sindi Rios, Fidel’s daughter-in-law.
This year the event was held in a blocked off section of Perry Avenue at the Garvey intersection. Also new this year was the addition of the Dansa Tecuanes de Puebla performers who hail from Bakersfield. The dance group has been performing as part of being faithful the Virgin Mary since 1996, said Pablo Lucero. Lucero performs with the group who was started by Ysidro Martinez and Rafael Rojas. Close to 25 dancers starting at six-years-old and up attended Saturday’s event in Corcoran. The dancers have performed for churches and at events from Fresno to Bakersfield.
Following their performance, dinner was served and preparations were made for the prayer. Rosa and Fidel’s family includes their children Jose and his wife, Paula; Domingo and wife, Melinda; Fidel Jr. and wife Michelle; Socorro, Rosie, Miguel and wife, Sindi; Baldemar and wife, Maggie; and Erika and husband, Matt. The couple also has grandchildren, great-grandchildren and extended family members who helped at the event Saturday.