Category Archives: celebration

Noche Buena Fireworks

Image source: gmarvinh

Image source: gmarvinh

This past week I wrote my weekly column for Fox News Latino about the tradition of Christmas Eve fireworks in El Salvador, and the injuries it causes each year.

While doing research for the article I came across several videos which, despite the serious subject matter I was writing about, I found really amusing. It’s funny when people have a good time with fireworks and don’t get hurt, so I can definitely see why people continue to buy them and set them off.

I myself have never handled anything more serious than sparklers and since I didn’t grow up with fireworks being set off right in front of me as Carlos did, I have a healthy fear/respect of them. That being said, I know some of you will be setting off some pretty impressive cuetes tomorrow night, so I just wanted to take a moment to remind everyone to be careful and to keep small children at a safe distance while you’re celebrating. If you talk to your family in El Salvador on the phone, remind them too. Christmas is not as fun at the hospital. Have fun, pero con cuidado!

Un Nacimiento Bilingüe y Bicultural

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. Scroll down for English translation!

El miercoles en la página Facebook, durante una conversación sobre nacimientos, una amiga y lectora de Latinaish.com, (“Lady Amalthea”), me mencionó que tenía un nacimiento que quería compartir con todos. Originalmente habíamos planeado compartirlo en la página de Facebook, pero cuando me mandó la foto ví inmediatamente que era muy especial y tenía que ser compartido aquí.

Dale un "click" para ver la foto en grande. Hay muchos detalles! (Click the photo to see it full size. There are a lot of details!)

Dale un “click” para ver la foto en grande. Hay muchos detalles! (Click the photo to see it full size. There are a lot of details!)

En las palabras de “Lady Amalthea”:

[Mi nacimiento es] un pueblo bicultural y bilingüe. He incorporado piezas que mi esposo y yo trajimos de Ilobasco, El Salvador y algunas casas de “Christmas Village” que hemos recogido juntos, como el Teatro de película, y la estación de tren. Mi esposo americano mantiene el argumento de que el nacimiento es algo fuera de control y que no es una escena de la natividad correcta, con los soldados, cachiporras, los animales de todo el mundo, etc., pero cada vez que mi hermana me manda más figuras para agregar, mi esposo no puede esperar para ver cuál es esta vez y donde yo la voy a poner! Mi esposo aún me convenció añadir un tren eléctrico para dar la vuelta alrededor del pueblo!

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

On Wednesday on the Facebook page, during a conversation about nativities, a friend and reader of Latinaish.com, (“Lady Amalthea”), mentioned that she had a nativity that she wanted to share with everyone. We originally planned to share it on the Facebook page, but when I saw the photo I immediately knew it was very special and had to be shared here.

In the words of “Lady Amalthea”:

[My nativity is] bicultural and bilingual. I incorporated pieces that my husband and I brought from Ilobasco, El Salvador and some Christmas village houses we have collected together, such as the movie theater, and the train station. My American husband keeps arguing that it’s getting out of hand and it’s not a nativity scene at all, with soldiers, cachiporras [cheerleaders], animals everywhere, etc., but every time my sister sends me more figures to add to it, he cannot wait to see which one it is this time and where I am going to place it! He even talked me into adding an electrical train to go around the village!

Mixing Traditions for a Bicultural Christmas

(Free Gift Tag! Go ahead and print this image to attach to gifts for familia y amigos!)

(Free Gift Tag! Go ahead and print this image to attach to gifts for familia y amigos!)

Most of you know that I write for several websites each month. I usually share those links on the Latinaish Facebook Page, but I wanted to link this one up here for those who might not be on Facebook since this particular post is so relevant to my usual content on Latinaish. I also took the opportunity to make a bicultural/bilingual gift tag for your Christmas gifts (see above!) Feel free to print it out and use it!

Now for the post:

Mixing Traditions for a Bicultural Christmas

Fifteen years ago I married Carlos, a Salvadoran immigrant who spoke little English. Because we were young, pregnant, and poor at the time—instead of moving to our own place—I moved Carlos into my parents’ house where I was still living. From the outside it didn’t seem like the most ideal situation, but living with my English-speaking Anglo parents turned out to be a unique opportunity for Carlos to get a crash course in English and American culture.

Of course, living in such a situation made our diverse backgrounds that much more apparent—especially during holidays, and especially during Christmas…[READ MORE HERE]

Lista de Deseos

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. Scroll down for English translation!

Image source: Matt & Megan

Image source: Matt & Megan

Esta semana yo estaba ocupadísima y todavia me quedan cosas en mi “to-do list” (“lista de cosas por hacer” – Me gusta que en español “to-do list” parece a “todo list”, porque tiene todo lo que tengo que hacer.)

Una cosa en mi “to-do list” es escribir mi blog post de Spanish Friday, también escribir mi “wishlist” (cosas que quiero por Navidad), para Carlos. Dejame explicar que no soy el tipo de persona que anda dando mi “wishlist” a todos, esperando que me compren algo – pero Carlos me lo pidió porque tiene miedo de comprarme algo que no me gusta, (como las flores fibra ópticas que me compró por nuestra primera Navidad.)

Entonces, voy a matar dos pájaros de un sólo tiro – Aquí está mi blog post de Spanish Friday, y también unas ideas para Carlos cuando ande buscando mi regalito de Navidad.

Mi Lista de Deseos

(Bueno, Mi Lista de Deseos que podemos comprar con el dinero en nuestro presupuesto y los deseos que son apropiados por publicar.)

#1. Pijamas de franela de cuadros

#2. Una camiseta de Chicharito (si no te gusta lo de México aunque me gusta mucho el jersey negro, está bien una de Manchester United.)

#3. Un certificado de regalos para la tienda Books-a-Million

#4. Cilantro acondicionador para el cabello de MALIN+GOETZ

#5. Una camiseta de La Selecta Playera de El Salvador (marca mitre, nombre: Agustín Ruíz)

#6. Global Warming por Pitbull, (CD, versión explícita)

#7. Una pelota “Ludo” (pero todavia no está disponible)

#8. “S” Shakira Eau Florale, (el perfume de la botella rosada que me compraste el año pasado)

#9. Una visita al Museo Nacional de Historia Americana en Washington, D.C., y despues a comer pupusas.

#10. Traerme una pizza (hongos y aceitunas negras), una caja de trufas de chocolate, y mirar la película “The King & I”, “French Kiss” o ” Ever After: A Cinderella Story” conmigo.

Y tú? Qué tienes en tu lista de deseos?

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

This week I was very busy and I still have things on my “to-do list” (I like that in Spanish “to-do list” looks like “todo [everything] list” because it has everything I need to do on it.)

One thing on my “to-do list” is to write my blog post for Spanish Friday, and another is to write my “wishlist” (things I want for Christmas) for Carlos. Let me explain that I am not the type of person who goes around giving my wishlist to everyone expecting them to buy me something – but Carlos asked me for a list because he’s afraid of buying something I won’t like, (like the fiber optic flowers he bought for our first Christmas.)

So, I’ll kill two birds with one stone – Here’s my blog post for Spanish Friday, and also some ideas for Carlos when he goes looking for my Christmas gift.

My Wishlist

(Well, My Wishlist of things we can afford on our budget and that are appropriate for sharing here.)

#1. Plaid flannel pajamas

#2. A Chicharito jersey (if you don’t like the Mexican jersey, although I love the black one, Manchester United is fine.)

#3. A gift certificate for the store Books-A-Million

#4. Cilantro hair conditioner from MALIN+GOETZ

#5. A La Selecta T-shirt for the El Salvador Beach team – (brand mitre, name: Agustín Ruíz)

#6. Global Warming by Pitbull (CD, explicit version)

#7. A “Ludo” ball (not yet available.)

#8. “S” Shakira Eau Florale, (the pink bottle of perfume that you bought me last year.)

#9. A visit to the National Museum of American History in Washington DC, and then to eat pupusas.

#10. Bring me a pizza (mushrooms and black olives), a box of chocolate truffles, and watch the movie “The King & I”, “French Kiss” or “Ever After: A Cinderella Story” with me.

How about you? What’s on your wishlist?

Celebrating Día de los Difuntos

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?

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

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?

How to Carve a Jack-o-Lantern & Roast Pumpkin Seeds

I don’t usually share my gringo traditions here but I realize that just as I’m fascinated by and curious about Latin American traditions, maybe there are people from other parts of the world reading this who might be just as fascinated by and curious about the traditions we have here in the United States. As I mentioned before, carving a jack-o-lantern and roasting pumpkin seeds were two of the very first traditions I shared with Carlos, so now I’m going to share it with you. (Besides, roasted pumpkin seeds are popular in parts of Latin America too!)

Directions and step-by-step photos below!

How to Make: Jack-o-Lanterns & Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

1. Choose a side of your pumpkin to work on. I always choose the side that has the least amount of blemishes or scratches, but if you’re going for a different look, maybe that would add some character. Once you’ve decided which side you like best, use a marker to draw a face. Remember that you’ll be carving these shapes out with a knife, so the more complicated the shapes, (especially round shapes or tiny details), the more difficult it will be. (Note: Don’t carve your pumpkin more than a few days before Halloween or it will start to rot.)

2. Draw a circle at least an inch out from the stem around the top of the pumpkin. Cut along the line at the top and then gently pull the stem to open the pumpkin. Use a knife to cut the gunk and strings hanging off the top so it’s clean and flat.

3. Reach inside the pumpkin and pull out the “guts.” (Most little kids find this disgusting but fun.)

4. The gooey, stringy stuff can be discarded, but separate the seeds out into a bowl as you go. At some point you will need to use a spoon to scrape the inside nice and clean.

5. Use a sharp knife to carefully carve out the face you drew on the outside of the pumpkin. Little kids will need lots of help and should be supervised at all times.

6. Admire what a good job you’ve done. Your jack-o-lantern is finished and ready for the final touch, but first, let’s roast pumpkin seeds.

7. Put the pumpkin seeds in a colander and rinse with water for a couple minutes, using your hands to mix them around. Leave in the colander to drip dry about 20 minutes.

8. Cover a baking sheet in aluminum foil. Spread the pumpkin seeds out on the ungreased baking sheet. Put into the oven at no more than 200 F. Right now we’re not roasting the pumpkin seeds, just drying them out. Check the pumpkin seeds every 10 minutes. They should be dry in 20 – 30 minutes or less. Pumpkin seeds should still be white when you remove them from the oven. Allow to cool for a couple minutes until they’re safe to handle with your hands.

9. Use your hands to mix the pumpkin seeds around and get them unstuck from the aluminum foil. Dribble a little oil on the seeds, (some people use butter – I spray them generously with cooking spray), and then sprinkle with salt. Mix around with your hands, making sure all seeds are covered in oil and salt. Bake in oven at 350 F until slightly browned. Allow to cool and then serve or store for eating.

10. Back to your jack-o-lantern! On Halloween night, place a lit candle inside your jack-o-lantern (battery operated “candles” are best so you don’t have to worry about a fire hazard), and then put the top back on. Set on your doorstep out of the way of trick-or-treaters. Happy Halloween!

Exclusive Día de los Muertos Romantic Updo by Leonardo Rocco

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!

The Pumpkin Patch – An American Tradition

Click this image to see this post featured on Mamiverse.com

Carlos pulls the boys in a wagon through a pumpkin patch. 2009

One of the first places I brought Carlos when he was my boyfriend was to a pumpkin patch, and one of the first things I showed him was how to to carve a jack-o-lantern. I’ve always been interested in other cultures and traditions, but there was also something exciting about showing Carlos my own.

Fifteen years later, going to the pumpkin patch as a family each October is one of our favorite things.

The pumpkin patch we usually go to has goats and you can buy food pellets for them from a bubble gum style machine for a quarter. Over the years, Carlos has come to be more of an animal lover. He looks so happy petting the goat here.

After feeding the goats we considered giving the corn maze a try but it takes 45 minutes to go through, (maybe an hour given my sense of direction) – so we decided we’ll come back another day to do it.

Into the pumpkin patch.

My boys are getting bigger, (The oldest is taller than Carlos), but they haven’t outgrown the pumpkin patch.

There’s a type of squash in El Salvador called Pipián. We aren’t sure if this squash here is related but when you’re accustomed to their palm-sized Latin American cousins, these are kind of hilarious.

Now that we’ve picked our pumpkins and brought them home, we’ll soon carve them into jack-o-lanterns. When we clean out the inside of the pumpkin we always reserve the seeds for roasting and eating. Roasted pumpkin seeds, funnily enough, remind Carlos of El Salvador.

Día de Los Muertos Round-up!

Saw this chévere sugar skull mochilla at a local store. Also found it available online. If you want to buy one, the brand is Yak Pak.

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!

Day of the Dead-ify your Fotos!

Like many other people out there, I’ve come to love using the online image editor PicMonkey to edit my photos. It has every awesome feature you could want, plus some – and it’s free. I didn’t think I could love PicMonkey more than I already do, but I just came upon a super chévere seasonal addition. Not only have Halloween features been added, but there is now a Día de los Muertos theme!

This screen capture doesn’t even show all the features. Go check it out!

Although I’ve never had a desire to paint my face like a sugar skull before, PicMonkey made this idea very tempting. Carlos came into the room while I was in the middle of creating this.

Carlos asked me, first, what in the world I was doing, and second, “I thought you said you were busy writing?”

(Thanks a lot, PicMonkey, for distracting me and getting me into trouble!) … I’ll go back to writing now, the rest of you, go have fun!

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