Category Archives: beliefs
Today has been a busy day since Día de los Muertos is also my youngest son’s birthday. We’ve been celebrating with him and preparing to celebrate again with family tomorrow, but I also took time to set up our ofrenda over the past couple days.
This year marks a turning point for me culturally because I included many of my own loved ones on our ofrenda. Last year I actually added my paternal grandfather, but I did so hesitantly.
I say “hesitantly” because as much as I admire the holiday and feel it’s a good way to remember Carlos’s loved ones, I hadn’t felt comfortable remembering my own loved ones. Originally I thought, well, this is a Catholic holiday and being that my father’s side of the family is Jewish and my mother’s side of the family is Protestant, it just doesn’t make sense to include my family. However, with each passing year I realized that my hesitance was not truly about the mixing of religions – my hesitance was actually an Anglo-American belief so deeply ingrained that it was difficult for me to recognize – and that belief is that remembering loved ones is something painful, sad, fearful and unpleasant.
When I added my paternal grandfather to the ofrenda last year, it wasn’t an easy thing. I chose my favorite photo of him, one I took myself when I was probably no older than eight. I still remember the moment I took it. He gave me the camera, a Kodak Instamatic, I think it was. He showed me how to load the film, snap a photo, and he set me free. I ran around my grandparents’ house in New York photographing everything. At one point I followed my grandpa out to the driveway. He was wearing one of his signature newsboy caps. “Hey Grandpa,” I said, “Let me take your picture.” He smiled down at me – that is the photo I put on the altar. I added Corn Flakes, the cereal he used to eat every morning, a little trumpet to represent his love of big band music, and a dreidel because he was Jewish.
While I experienced sadness at first, that sadness lifted and I began to experience the holiday as it’s meant to be celebrated. My boys asked me questions about the altar, and I had the opportunity to share stories with them about my grandfather which felt really good.
This year as I set up the altar, I realized that my attitude toward remembering loved ones had changed and I now felt comfortable including my great-grandmothers. As they did last year, the boys asked questions about photos and items on the altar. I was more than happy to tell them stories, the good memories of so many people I was blessed to have known.
As a member of Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network I received gift cards from Lowe’s in order to purchase supplies to complete projects. All opinions are my own.
October is my favorite time of year, not just because it’s autumn, (which is my favorite season), but because this is the time of year when all kinds of creative Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) crafts and products start to pop up all over the place in preparation for the November holiday.
For Día de los Muertos, many people in Latin America create an ofrenda, or altar, to honor their deceased loved ones, so I knew I wanted to create something along those lines.
While walking around Lowe’s to brainstorm ideas, I walked past the wood moulding and noticed how the crown corners looked like little houses when turned the wrong way and this reminded me of the nichos I used to make. Nichos are a beautiful Latin American folk art which incorporate mixed media in the style of a shadow box and often serve as a religious altar. Because I already keep photos of our deceased loved ones on a permanent altar of sorts, I decided to make a nicho to honor the iconic Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo.
If you want to make a Día de los Muertos nicho, follow the directions below to get started now!
Día de los Muertos Nicho
1 large crown corner (wood moulding)
3/8 x 4 x 24 inch pine craft board
3/4 in. x 1 in. brass hinges
2 cabinet knobs
craft paints and brushes
1/16 drill bit
3/16 drill bit
decorations of your choosing
small photo of deceased person you’re honoring
battery operated candles
1. Remove stickers from the wood. Lightly sand to remove stickiness if needed.
2. Carefully knock out triangular corner supports inside the corner crown.
3. Sand the corner crown to remove glue and rough edges.
4. Cut the craft board so you have two 7 1/2 inch pieces. The third piece set aside for another project.
5. One 7 1/2 inch piece will be the bottom of the nicho. The other 7 1/2 inch piece should be cut into two equal pieces measuring 3 3/4 inch – These will be the doors of the nicho. Sand these pieces.
6. Measure and pre-drill holes on doors and sides of nicho for the tiny screws that came with the hinges. (I pre-drilled these with a 1/16 bit and used my Rockwell 3RILL, which is my new favorite tool. Full disclosure: Rockwell gave the drill to me to use on my Lowe’s projects.)
Also drill holes to attach the cabinet knobs – I used a 3/16 drill bit for those.
7. Paint pieces desired colors. Allow to dry. (Sand lightly for a slightly weathered look.)
8. Screw the knobs on the doors through the 3/16 holes you drilled. (Depending on the knobs you bought, you may prefer to find shorter bolts than the ones that came with the knob due to the width of the wood.)
9. Use a mini-screwdriver to attach the hinges to doors and then doors to nicho where you have pre-drilled holes.
10. Use wood glue to attach the bottom piece to the bottom of the nicho. Allow to dry.
11. Place photo, battery operated candles (real candles absolutely not advised!) and other decorations inside. Display on a shelf or attach a picture hanger to the back for wall display.
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Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. English translation is below!
Este año no pensé que ibamos a tener una ofrenda por Día de los Muertos. Dos años pasados, sin realizar que los salvadoreños no celebran Día de los Muertos igual que los mexicanos, hice una ofrenda para el papá de Carlos. Carlos agradeció el gesto pero ponía algo triste y esto no fue mi intención. El problema fue que Carlos no estaba acostumbrado tener una ofrenda porque en El Salvador no se hace eso.
Mientras que los mexicanos llaman el día “Día de los Muertos” y celebran la muerte, abrazan la muerte, aún se ríen de ella – los salvadoreños llaman el día “Día de los Difuntos” y lo consideran un día de recordar sus queridos fallecidos en una manera mucho más sombría.
El año pasado, no queriendo repetir mi error, no tenía previsto hacer una ofrenda, pero mis hijos me dijeron que les gustó la tradición y querian tener una. Entonces, hicimos una ofrenda por nuestro perro que se murió.
Este año no tenía planes por hacer una ofrenda otra vez, pero Carlos me dijo que ya se siente comodo en tener una ofrenda con sus queridos fallecidos. Entonces, nuestra ofrenda incluye el papá de Carlos, la abuela de Carlos, el abuelo de Carlos, (que se murió sólo una mes atrás), mi abuelo y dos perros.
Hay demasiados detalles en la ofrenda por explicar, pero les voy a explicar un poco. Tal vez ustedes pueden buscar los artículos en la foto que menciono.
El papá de Carlos, (“Don Max”) le gustó mucho el casamiento – un plato hecho de arroz y frijoles. Por eso, hay arroz y frijoles. También tuvo un camión pick-up, y estaba muy orgulloso de él. El papá de Carlos era un entrenador de fútbol y le gustaba echar chile en su comida, (algo raro por un salvadoreño, pero algo que le gusta a Carlos también.) Don Max no era muy religoso pero era super dedicado a San Antonio.
Mi abuelo tampoco era muy religoso, pero identificó como judío. Le gustó la música “Big Band” y se comió Corn Flakes cada mañana.
Hay una historia sobre el abuelo de Carlos. “Papá Milo” era muy bueno por nadar y a veces cruzó el Río Lempa nadando para traer grandes bolsas de maíz para su familia. El abuelo de Carlos también fue el alcalde de un pueblo de Chalatenango, y casi siempre andaba con sombrero de vaquero.
La abuela de Carlos se llamaba “Mamá Juana” y era una mujer muy dulce. Ella tuvo diez hijos, y le encantaban las flores. Yo recuerdo que a veces Mamá Juana, en la manera de muchas salvadoreñas del pueblo, usaba un delantal encima de su vestido, aunque no estaba cocinando.
¿Hiciste una ofrenda tú? Quién estás recordando?
This year I didn’t think we’d have an altar for Day of the Dead. Two years ago, without realizing that Salvadorans don’t celebrate Day of the Dead the same way Mexicans do, I made an altar for Carlos’s father. Carlos appreciated the gesture but it made him kind of sad, which was not my intention. The problem was that Carlos wasn’t used to having an altar because Salvadorans don’t make them.
While Mexicans call the day “Día de los Muertos” and celebrate death, embrace death, and even laugh at death – Salvadorans call the day “Día de los Difuntos” and consider it a day to remember your passed loved ones in a much more somber way.
Last year, not wanting to repeat my mistake, I didn’t have plans to make an altar, but my boys told me they liked the tradition and wanted to have one. So, we made an altar to one of our dogs which had died.
This year, again I didn’t have plans to make an altar, but Carlos told me he feels more comfortable now to have an altar with his passed loved ones. So, this year we have an altar which includes Carlos’s father, Carlos’s grandmother, Carlos’s grandfather, (who died only a month ago), my grandfather, and two dogs.
There are too many details to explain them all, but I will explain the altar to you a little. Maybe you can find the items I’ll mention in the photo.
The father of Carlos, (“Don Max”) really liked casamiento – a dish made from rice and beans. For that reason, there are rice and beans. He also had a pick-up truck which he was very proud of. Carlos’s father was a football coach and he liked to put chile pepper on his food, (kind of rare for a Salvadoran, but something Carlos also likes to do.) Don Max wasn’t very religious but he was super dedicated to Saint Anthony.
My grandfather wasn’t very religious either, but he identified as Jewish. He liked Big Band music and ate Corn Flakes every morning.
There’s a story about Carlos’s grandfather. “Papá Milo” was really good at swimming and sometimes he would swim across the Lempa River to bring big bags of corn to his family. Carlos’s grandfather was also the mayor of a town in Chalatenango and almost always wore a cowboy hat.
Carlos’s grandmother was called “Mamá Juana” and was a really sweet woman. She had ten children and she loved flowers. I remember that sometimes Mamá Juana, in the way of many Salvadoran women from the countryside, used to wear an apron over her dress, even though she wasn’t cooking.
Did you make an ofrenda? Who are you remembering?
Suave Professionals® hair products and Celebrity Hairstylist, Leonardo Rocco contacted me and offered to come up with an exclusive hairstyle for Día de los Muertos, just for Latinaish.com.
Coincidentally, I sincerely love Suave products, (and nope! This isn’t a sponsored post, te juro! They didn’t even give me free samples.) I use the Suave Professionals® Sleek Conditioner daily, and sometimes the Keratin Infusion one, because they work beautifully on my hair – better than the fancy, expensive stuff my hairstylist sold me. I can’t guarantee you’ll have the same results, but for the price, I recommend checking them out. (And if you do, please let me know what you think!)
Anyway, I thought this was a really well put together campaign – by blending in Día de los Muertos, I decided it fit the types of things I like to share in this space, so I said I would love to work together. I asked Leonardo to come up with a Romantic Updo – nothing too crazy – something that I could actually do with my hair and wear any day I was feeling a little ambitious and wanted to look extra pretty. Below is the hairstyle and step-by-step directions in both English and Spanish if you want to give it a try!
Recogido romántico con flores por Leonardo Rocco
1. Por aproximadamente 3 segundos, bate el Suave Professionals® Volumizing Mousse bien y dependiendo del largo de tu cabello, dispensa el mousse en tu mano. Generalmente el tamaño es de la palma de tu mano. Aplica el mousse en todo el cabello de esta manera con un peine de dientes anchos para cubrir todo el cabello. Este producto es perfecto porque le da hasta 4 veces más cuerpo al cabello sin quitarle volumen o hacer que se vea pesado.
2. El segundo paso es secar el cabello con un cepillo redondo, concentrándote en la corona de la cabeza que es donde quieres tener el volumen.
3. Luego, separa un mechón de cabello desde la oreja hacia adelante a un lado de la cabeza. Con él, haz una trenza francesa que enmarque un lado de tu rostro.
4. Cuando llegues abajo, amarra la trenza y el resto de tu cabello en una cola a la base de la cabeza.
5. Ve separando pequeños mechones de la cola y rizándolos con una tenaza. Luego de rizar cada mechón, envuélvelo con tus dedos y sujétalo con un pasador sobre la cola. De ser necesario puedes sujetar un mechón sobre otro, esto creará volumen. Deja algunos más sueltos que otros para darle una forma más suave al peinado.
6. Finalmente, usa el Suave Professionals® Touchable Finish Extra Hold Hairspray para fijar el peinado. La ventaja de usar este aerosol es que controla los mechones sueltos y es de larga duración, así puedes disfrutar de tu noche sin preocuparte por tu peinado.
7. Coloca una o varias flores de colores alrededor del peinado para darle el look final de Día de los Muertos.
Romantic Updo with Flowers by Leonardo Rocco
1. Shake the Suave Professionals® Volumizing Mousse well for approximately 3 seconds, and depending on the length of your hair place an amount on the palm of your hand. It will usually be the size of the palm of your hand. Apply the mousse throughout your hair using a wide-toothed comb to cover all your hair. This product is perfect because it adds up to 4 times more body without weighing hair down.
2. The second step is drying your hair with a round brush, focusing on the roots where we want to create the most volume.
3. Separate a section of hair from the ear forward on one side of your head. French braid it so that it frames one side of your face all the way to the back.
4. When you reach the back part of your head, tie the braid into a ponytail along with the rest of your hair.
5. Begin curling small sections of hair from the ponytail, looping them and pinning them into place near the ponytail with a bobby pin. Pin some sections more loosely than others to create volume and shape.
6. Finally, apply Suave Professionals® Touchable Finish Extra Hold Hairspray to set the hairstyle. The benefit of using this hairspray is that it controls flyaways and provides long-lasting hold, so your look will last all night.
7. Decorate your hair with one or several colorful flowers around the hairstyle to create the final Día de los Muertos style.
ABOUT LEONARDO ROCCO
Leonardo Rocco’s visions of innovation, vanguard design, and unique approach have secured his position as one of the most in-demand hair artists and celebrity stylist in the industry.
In 1991, together with his family, Rocco opened the doors to the first Rocco Donna Salon in Argentina, followed by the 2004 opening of the Rocco Donna Hair & Beauty Art salon in South Beach, FL. In addition, Rocco is the proud founder of the Rocco Donna Beauty Academy, one of the top five schools of hair aesthetics and design in Argentina.
Rocco is recognized for his involvement in the community as well as his membership in various organizations such as the Latino Fashion Group, MBCC (Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce), and the SFLHCC (South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce), which recently named him the “Hispanic Entrepreneur of the Year”.
In 2010, Rocco launched a new beauty platform called “Miami Hair Beauty and Fashion” by Rocco Donna, an event that will take place every year, which promotes Latin talent along with the latest beauty and fashion innovations and products. Rocco appears on different television shows like “Despierta América”, “El Gordo y la Flaca” and “Escándalo TV.”
Leonardo Rocco’s clientele sets a high standard and there are many celebrities and artists that have been subject to his creative work for interviews, photo shoots, TV appearances, special events, or simply a new look. Among these are: Juanes, Angélica Vale, Paulina Rubio, Eva Longoria, Emilio Estefan, Marlene Favela, Jean Carlos Canela, Luis Fonsi, Maite Perroni, Anahi, Dulce María, Rodner Figueroa, Lupita Jones, Osmel Souza, Katy Perry, Belinda, Alejandro Fernández, Jenny Rivera, Aracely Arámbula, Giselle Blondet, Candela Ferro, Karla Martínez, Poncho de Anda and Adamari López.
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post and no products were received. As always this is my honest opinion, nada más y nada menos!
Do you know the Latin American folktale (or is it true?) called La Llorona? (The Weeping Woman.)
For those not familiar, here is the story of La Llorona.
Although several variations exist, the basic story tells of a beautiful woman by the name of Maria killing her children by drowning them in order to be with the man that she loved. The man would not have her, which devastated her. She would not take no for an answer, so he slit her throat and threw her body in a lake in Mexico. Challenged at the gates of heaven as to the whereabouts of her children, she is not permitted to enter the afterlife until she has found them. Maria is forced to wander the Earth for all eternity, searching in vain for her drowned offspring, with her constant weeping giving her the name “La Llorona”.
In some versions of this tale and legend, La Llorona will kidnap wandering children who resemble her missing children, or children who disobey their parents. People who claim to have seen her say she appears at night or in the late evenings from rivers or oceans in Mexico. Some believe that those who hear the wails of La Llorona are marked for death, similar to the Gaelic banshee legend. She is said to cry “Ay, mis hijos!” which translates to “Oh, my children!
Function of the story in society
Typically, the legend serves as a cautionary tale on several levels. Parents will warn their children that bad behavior will cause La Llorona to abduct them, and that being outside after dark will result in her visitation. The tale also warns young women not to be enticed by status, wealth, material goods, or by men who make declarations of love or lavish promises.
- Source: Wikipedia.
Well, this Friday’s episode of Grimm is about La Llorona. The show Grimm is an American TV drama series which is described as “a cop drama—with a twist… a dark and fantastical project about a world in which characters inspired by Grimms’ Fairy Tales exist.”
This clip features Grimm stars Bitsie Tulloch (Juliette Silverton), David Giuntoli (Nick Burkhardt), Russell Hornsby (Hank Griffin.) Guests cast in this episode include Bertila Damas as “Pilar” and David Barrera as “Luis Alvarez.”
Kate del Castillo (of “La Reina del Sur” fame), is also in this episode!
Grimm airs Fridays at 9 pm ET on NBC. This particular episode will air on NBC on Friday, October 26th at 9 pm ET. There will also be special airings, in Spanish on Telemundo at 11:35 pm ET on October 29th and in English on mun2 at 1 am ET on Saturday, October 27th.
Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll watch because this kind of stuff freaks me out. I will probably have a week’s worth of pesadillas just from watching these videos here. Do you think you’ll tune in?
Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. English translation is below!
El otro fin de semana, Carlos tenía dolor de oido, sentía que tenía fluido por dentro, y me pidió una cura. Empecé a enumerar los remedios caseros, pero Carlos no estaba entusiasmado por ninguno de ellos. Entonces me acordé de una pintura de Carmen Lomas Garza llamado Ventosa, que muestra un cono hecho de periódico con fuego en el oído de alguien. Le conté a Carlos y quiso hacerlo.
Hice un poco de investigación y luego decidimos probarlo. La primera vez lo hicimos en el comedor y eso era un gran error. El suelo en nuestra casa es alfombra y algunas cenizas empezaron a caer, creando un peligro de incendio. Cuando el fuego en el cono creció me dio pánico y no sabía cómo apagarlo. Abrí la puerta de atrás y lo tiré al patio.
Después Carlos me dijo que no se sentía mejor y unas horas más tarde quería tratar otra vez. Esta vez lo hicimos en la bañera, pero una vez más cuando el fuego creció un poco fuera de control, me ponía nerviosa. Yo creo que este remedio casero es demasiado peligroso por casas en los Estados Unidos, la mayoría que son hechas de puras cosas inflamables.
Al final, Carlos dijo que el “cono de fuego”, como lo llamamos, realmente no le ayudaba. Intenté uno de los primeros remedios que había mencionado originalmente – gotitas de aceite de oliva en el oído. Ahora se siente mejor.
¿Tienes experiencia con el “cono de fuego”? Funciona para ti?
The other weekend, Carlos had an earache – he felt like he had fluid in his ear and he asked me for a cure. I started to list home remedies I knew of, but Carlos wasn’t enthusiastic about any of them. Then I remembered a Carmen Lomas Garza painting called Ventosa, which shows a newspaper cone of fire in someone’s ear. I told Carlos about it and he wanted to do it.
I did a little research and then decided to try it. The first time we did it in the dining room which was a big mistake. The flooring is carpet in our house and some ash began to fall, creating a fire hazard. When the fire grew bigger on the cone I panicked and didn’t know how to put it out. I unlocked the back door and threw it onto the patio.
Afterward Carlos told me he wasn’t feeling better and a few hours later he wanted to try again. This time we did it in the bathtub, but again when the fire grew a little out of control, I got nervous. I think this home remedy is too dangerous for homes in the United States, which are made of purely flammable things.
In the end, Carlos said the “cone of fire”, as we call it, didn’t really help. I tried one of the first remedies that I had originally mentioned – drops of olive oil in the ear. Now he feels better.
Do you have experience with the “cone of fire?” – Does it work for you?
I’ve got a backpack full of links for you to check out for Día de Los Muertos (also known as “Day of the Dead” or “Día de los Difuntos”.)
SpanglishBaby.com had the genius idea of creating this collection of Day of the Dead links which includes everything from altars/ofrendas, crafts for adults and kids alike, themed products available for purchase from around the internet, recipes, history, culture, photos, videos, and personal stories. The collection of links includes all my Día de los Muertos posts too in case you missed them in previous years.
Click the image below to go to the SpanglishBaby post which includes not only all their awesome links within their own site, but links to all our fellow amigas’ great content which continues to be added!
Quite on accident I stumbled upon photos from my blog which had been stolen. I was looking at the images in a Facebook album owned by a Salvadoran pride community only to see a photo that looked familiar – “Wait a minute,” I thought, “that’s my photo!”
I clicked to enlarge it and not only had it been used without permission, but my name and my blog were not mentioned at all. Looking through the album I found almost a dozen of my photos. Soon I would find my stolen photos in the Facebook photo albums of two other similar communities owned by people in El Salvador.
I accused one of the people of theft and left comments on every single one of my photos demanding that the photos be removed. This person removed the photos quickly and apologized saying the theft had been unintentional. (He claims that the photos were submitted to him and he didn’t know where they had come from. I accepted his apology and moved on.)
In the second case it was a very large community and the guy who owned it had the nerve to watermark my photos with his name and even made comments on the photos as if he had taken them. Angry, I decided to take care of things through the Facebook complaint form for copyright violations. It was a little tedious, but Facebook acted within hours and removed the photos without me having to engage the owner of the page in conversation.
In the third case, I determined that the owner of the Facebook community was a female and decided, out of some sort of sympathy and sisterhood, to give her a chance to remove the photos herself instead of reporting her to Facebook. I told her that the photos were mine and that I was giving her one hour to remove them. If she failed to remove the photos, I would be forced to report the violation to Facebook.
She did not respond well to my ultimatum and began to insult me. I explained to her that I was being kind in giving her this chance and that others in my position could potentially take her to court. Her response?
“tu estas loca hija aqui no vengas con pendejadas saves q me vale berda lo q tu quieras hacer”
Wow. I was a little shocked but I composed myself long enough to reply:
“Qué es ‘berda’? … La palabra es VERGA. Si vas a ser maleducada, por lo menos, aprenda a deletrear, cipota.”
In the end, I reported the copyright violation to Facebook and Facebook removed the photos from her album, but I was left wondering about a lot of things. I related this whole story to Carlos and he seemed unimpressed. The look on his face said to me, “What did you expect?”
“People in El Salvador don’t respect copyrights – you should know that,” he said.
And he was right, I should know that. In El Salvador, pirated DVDs and CDs are sold out in the open. Stores in the mall carry knock-off T-shirts printed with every cartoon character and American rock band imaginable. My suegra, who’s a seamstress, buys bags of clothing labels at the market – The clothing labels are for sewing onto the clothing she makes and sells. She sews in tags that say Polo Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and Liz Claiborne.
And it isn’t just individuals who do this – Even businesses in El Salvador get in on the action. I’ve mentioned before, that one day we were traveling back from Chalatenango to the city and we were starving. We saw a sign for Wendy’s – exactly like the Wendy’s sign you all know and love with the same red background, same white lettering, same instantly recognizable font. We go inside the Wendy’s only to find out it’s a little comedor selling bistec y arroz, quesadilla, and all kinds of Salvadoran food. No burgers and fries were to be found – this was not a real Wendy’s.
I think that many (not all) people in El Salvador are so used to literally being surrounded by copyright violations on a daily basis that the concept of intellectual property becomes impossible to understand. In the minds of the people who stole my images, they feel they’ve done nothing wrong. When confronted by accusations of “theft”, in their minds I was being irrational, selfish, crazy. After all, they didn’t literally steal a physical object from me – I still have my photo, they just have it too. What’s the big deal?
As I dealt with the copyright violations, Carlos told me more than once that I was wasting my time. “That’s a losing battle,” he said, “they’ll do it again, and if not them, some other Salvadoran will.” Although I wasn’t able to be at peace with that for a few days, I do agree with him.
I want to be clear here – I don’t believe this difference in ethics is due to American culture, American belief systems or Americans themselves being any way superior to Salvadoran culture, Salvadoran belief systems or Salvadorans themselves. I don’t believe that Salvadorans are less moral, less civilized or less anything. What I do believe is that this difference in ethics is an example of ethical relativism in action – In other words, my “right and wrong” are not necessarily the same as your average Salvadoran’s “right and wrong.”
It’s a controversial and complex philosophy, but it makes sense to me. What do you think? Are morals & ethics non-negotiable or are they dependent on one’s culture? What differences have you observed in ethics across cultures?
Ethical Issues Across Cultures (PDF)
Morality is a Culturally Conditioned Response
Tim’s El Salvador Blog – (the discussion in comments on this post about piracy is really interesting.)
El Salvador is home to some traditions which can seem funny even to native Salvadorans. This week marks “Semana Santa” (Holy Week) in the Catholic faith, and so today is Lunes Santo, (Holy Monday.)
In a small town called Texistepeque in the department of Santa Ana, Lunes Santo means it is also “El Día de Los Talcigüines” – The word “talcigüines” means “deviled men” in the native language, Nahuatl. Like many traditions in El Salvador and throughout Latin America, the holiday is a result of the mixing of Catholic and indigenous beliefs; this occurred with the arrival of the Spanish and their desire to convert the native people to Catholicism by introducing their religion in ways that would seem familiar to the people.
On “El Día de Los Talcigüines” men dress as devil-like figures and whip people on the streets to absolve them of their sins.
Just make sure that if you ever visit Texistepeque on Holy Monday, you take measures to protect yourself…
Read more: History of El Día de Los Talcigüines and how to take part on Official El Salvador Tourism site.
Image source: Images are still frames taken from video by La Prensa Gráfica.
In high school we would have one week of gym class that we spent in the weight lifting room. It was in a dark, windowless room down a forgotten hallway. Students were allowed access to it after school but it was often forgotten, except by the jocks. The girls stood in a corner talking, watching the boys, examining their nails and refusing to do anything other than a minute on the rowing machine – preferring to take a zero for the day. I, however, loved our week in the weight lifting room.
Already known for challenging boys to arm wrestling contests at lunch time, (and sometimes winning), my reputation was further sealed by my behavior in the weight lifting room. The boys gathered around to see how much I could bench press, taking bets that I wouldn’t be able to do it each time the peg was moved lower and the weight got heavier. I fed on their pessimism. I loved being underestimated. I took a deep breath, felt the muscles ripping but pushed, pushed, pushed, my lips closed tight, my nostrils flaring. I heard them say knowingly to each other, “She can’t lift it” – as I struggled. My arms shook and I pushed harder still until I would feel the weight give way and my arms straightened above me in victory.
I didn’t care that I wasn’t the kind of girl you ask to the prom, but instead the kind of girl you ask to help push the car when it breaks down. I come from a family of strong women. My mother is well-known for re-decorating while my father is at work – sometimes moving heavy furniture up and down two flights of stairs by herself.
I associated femininity with weakness and wanted no part of it, but I realized how simplistic this point of view was when I gave birth to my first child. Giving birth is an act that is simultaneously the height of femininity and strength. Now, as the mother of two boys, the lone female in a household full of males, I value my feminine side more than I did growing up. Being married to Carlos though, has made me examine my femininity from a cultural perspective. It hasn’t been easy to sort out.
I will try to open a jar of pickles. Carlos will offer to help, reach his hand out for the jar, and I’ll turn away with the jar, stubbornly determined to do it myself. This is when Carlos will tell me I’m like my mother or say, “Why do you have to be so American?!” … to which I’d reply, “Why is it an insult to your manhood for me to open the pickles myself?!”
Over the years, I’ve learned to (usually), hand over the jar of pickles. It makes Carlos feel good to do it for me. I never pretend I can’t do anything, but if it’s difficult, why not give him the satisfaction of feeling that he takes care of me?
I thought that over the years, Carlos and I had mostly ironed out this one cultural wrinkle. We both have made compromises. I let him open jars of pickles that are difficult for me to open, (damn you, carpal tunnel) – and he doesn’t expect me to act completely helpless – fair enough… but at the grocery store while I was unloading the cart at the cash register, I retrieved the case of bottled water from the bottom of the cart and hefted it up and onto the conveyor belt. I thought nothing of it but Carlos whispered through clenched teeth, “Hey, you should have asked me to do it. You’re embarrassing me.”
Embarrassing Carlos was not my intention or even something I had considered – I just wanted to get the groceries checked out so we could go home, (and for the record, the cashier seemed completely unaware of the battle going on right in front of her.) I guess the lesson here is that Carlos and I will always have cultural issues to work on – nothing is ever resolved so completely that it won’t pop up again, so ingrained are the traits we bring from our two different backgrounds.
What is your take and your experiences on the topic of feminine strength vs. machismo?