Poetry YouTube Poem

Return of Fiesta Days: Cascarones, by Mark Tulin

In the current political climate—where minorities, immigrants, and their children are treated harshly—it’s refreshing to have a fiesta (Spanish for party) in my hometown of Santa Barbara, California. It’s an annual week-long fiesta beginning on the first weekend of August. The Fiesta, or Old Spanish Days as it is sometimes called, celebrates the contributions of Mexican, Spanish, and Native American peoples in the region.

The symbol of the festival is perhaps the handmade confetti-filled fiesta eggs, called cascarones in Spanish, and many of them are intricately decorated. The breaking of these colorful eggs during the Old Spanish Days celebration takes place joyfully in the streets of Santa Barbara.

The first weekend
in August, the bands strike, 
and the Palominos proudly stride
down State Street 
in red, green 
and white.

Señoras on sidewalks
selling hollow eggs,
washed and painted,
filled with confetti,
broken over crowns,
christening lives 
in cascading waterfalls.

Smash! Crackle! Pow!
broken confetti eggs,
the yolk of life
stuck to sweaty brows 
with colorful dots 
of gratitude and joy,

Macho men
riding white horses,
flamenco dancers
in long ruffled dresses, 
boys with painted mustaches 
in oversized sombreros,
mariachi players
with sun-browned skin
making guitar-strings quiver.

Bursting eggs
over unsuspecting heads
enliven a dead spirit,
lighten a dark sky,
setting the fiesta mood
in the sun-splattered glow 
of Old Spanish Days.

Señoras with mystical faces
holding Chihuahuas in drag,
infusing their magic 
into the bowels of eggs,
four for a dollar,
a dozen for three-fifty–
cheap at twice the price.



This poem was originally published in LetterPile.

For a different take on Santa Barbara’s Fiesta Days, please read another fiesta poem on elephant journal, entitled How One City Celebrated Mexican Culture in Trump’s America.

I am an author, poet, humorist, and short story writer from Palm Springs, California. I write about various topics, from my early childhood in Philadelphia to my years as a family therapist and finally to my soul-searching in California. These are poetic narratives that may have humorous or serious content or both. Either way, I hope my poetry and stories resonate with you.

14 comments on “Return of Fiesta Days: Cascarones, by Mark Tulin

  1. I enjoyed reading both poems and watching the video: sights, sounds, and colors so different from my own. I want to experience them all!

  2. Thanks for sharing this great California event for a California Boy living in Texas!!!

  3. Terrific post, Mark. We were just in SB and love spending time there. The Fiesta must be great fun. 🙂

  4. PS Wonderful poetry. 🙂

  5. Gorgeous poem. I felt like I was there with you. Thank you!

  6. I LOVE IT! Mark, that definitely describes what I experienced over this past weekend. I’m so happy to have shared that day with my dear sister. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and relished in our “Heritage”. If only all people could just appreciate their heritages and the contributions we make to the nation and live in peace….after all we are all Brothers and Sisters living on this Earth that God gave us to watch over for Him. We need to be a Family, happy to enjoy each other. The Fiesta was the PERFECT place to see that example.

    Thank you for revealing this to all. They should experience Fiesta Days in Santa Barbara. I look forward to next year!

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