Category Archives: celebration
The first year we made cascarones, I didn’t have any dye so I tried to decorate the entire egg with colored tissue paper and glue. It was messy and they didn’t turn out very pretty, so this year I decided to do it the right way and dye the eggs. I bought your typical $1 kit with colored tablets for egg-dyeing at Easter time – a package that is familiar to me from childhood. However, because these kits are meant for American-style Easter eggs, they come with additional items you don’t need for cascarones which apparently perplexed my 10 year old.
Him: What are these for? [picking up stickers and cardboard egg holders]
Me: We don’t need those. Those are for making American Easter eggs.
Him: You put stickers and these thingies on them before you break them on someone’s head?
Me: No, [laughing] You leave the egg in the shell and cook them – you know hard boiled eggs?
Me: Then you dye them, put stickers on them, and these little cardboard thingies are so you can display them until you eat them.
Him: You eat them?! That’s weird!
It kind of boggles my mind that my 10 year old couldn’t remember what regular Easter eggs are – I mean, I made them with them before? When they were little? In the past? Didn’t I?… I don’t remember anymore. Apparently, in recent years I’ve done such a good job of teaching the boys Latin American culture that I now need to step it up with showing them Anglo-American traditions from my own childhood.
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.
En este tiempo del año me he dado cuenta de que Carlos se pone un poco deprimido. A pesar de que celebramos la Navidad en todos los sentidos imaginables, en Noche Buena nunca hicimos más que envolver los regalos me olvidé de envolver, ir a un servicio religioso, y luego tratar de empujar a los niños a la cama con las amenazas de que Santa Claus se saltará nuestra casa.
En El Salvador, Noche Buena se celebra a lo grande – con música, cuetes, fiestas y todo, así que la tranquilidad de la Noche Buena en los Estados Unidos parece deprimente en comparación.
Este año, ya que no podemos estar en El Salvador, me decidí traer un poco de El Salvador a nuestra casa. Este año vamos a celebrar Noche Buena, estilo salvadoreño.
Los tamales que usualmente hago por Navidad, voy a hacer un día temprano.
Compré una piñata y dulces por llenarla.
(La unica cosa es que, las piñatas estilo estrella se supone tienen siete puntos para representar los siete pecados. Esta piñata tiene sólo seis…Entonces, quedamos con uno.)
También hice papel picado por dar a la casa más ambiente.
He encontrado algunos cuetes que no usamos en el día de la independencia.
Aunque Carlos y yo ya intercambiamos regalos, le compré uno regalito extra para que tenga algo por abrir.
Y me aseguré que mi estación de música cumbia esta listo en Pandora.com.
La única cosa es que ahora, mirando mi casa, me hace reír. Me había olvidado de cierto episodio de I Love Lucy hasta ahora. Recuerda aquel en el que Lucy trata de decorar su apartamento como Cuba para Ricky? (Salvo que se parecía a México, pero de todos modos…)
Cuando la gente dijo que “el amor te vuelve loco” – Nunca pensé que querían decir clínicamente, pero la prueba está en la piñata que está colgada en mi sala.
¡Felices fiestas, amigos!
This time of year I’ve noticed that Carlos gets a little depressed. Even though we celebrate Christmas in every way imaginable, Christmas Eve has never been spent doing more than wrapping gifts I forgot to wrap, going to a religious service, and then trying to shove the kids off to bed with threats that Santa Claus will skip our house.
In El Salvador, Christmas Eve is celebrated in a big way – with music, fireworks, parties and everything, so the quiet of Christmas Eve in the United States seems depressing in comparison.
This year, since we can’t go to El Salvador, I decided to bring a little El Salvador to our house. This year, we’ll celebrate Christmas Eve, Salvadoran-style.
The tamales I usually make for Christmas, I’ll make one day early.
I bought a piñata and candies to fill it.
(The only thing is, the star-shaped piñatas are supposed to have seven points to represent the seven sins. This piñata has only six points, so I guess we get to keep one.)
I also made papel picado to give the house more ambiance.
I found some fireworks we didn’t use on Independence Day.
Even though Carlos and I exchanged gifts early, I bought him a little extra one so he has something to open.
And I made sure that my cumbia music station is ready on Pandora.com.
The only thing now is, looking around my house, it makes me laugh. I had forgotten about a certain episode of I Love Lucy until now. Remember the one where Lucy tries to make their apartment look like Cuba for Ricky? (Except that it looked like Mexico, but anyway.)
When people said “love will make you crazy” – I never thought they meant clinically, but the proof is in the piñata hanging in my living room.
¡Felices fiestas, amigos!
Nacimientos, or nativities, are something that both Carlos and I grew up with. In my case, the nativity was a simple wooden manger scene with plastic figures: Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus in a bed of straw, an angel, the three wisemen, a cow, a donkey, a couple sheep and their shepherd. My mother always placed the nativity beneath the Christmas tree and my sisters and I were allowed to play with it just like we played with our Barbies or any other toys where we’d act out elaborate storylines while laying on the carpet, completely lost in our own imaginations.
In Carlos’s case, the nacimiento of his childhood took up a large area of their house during the Christmas season. The clay figures included all the same characters we had, plus many more. Salvadoran nacimientos often look more like a bustling city than an intimate scene. No figure is considered inappropriate, from a woman at a pupusería, national soccer players, politicians, drunks, Chavo del 8, and short-skirted cheerleaders with batons known as “cachiporras” to the devil himself.
Carlos’s childhood nativity sounds like a dream come true! I can only imagine how many hours my sisters and I would have played with such a scene – except that Carlos tells me that playing with it was absolutely not allowed.
Now that we’re grown and married with our own household, we put up our own nativity scene. The first year we bought it and put it up, we had an argument about baby Jesus. Carlos couldn’t understand why I put baby Jesus into the manger and I couldn’t understand why he kept taking it out and hiding it. Carlos says that in El Salvador, you don’t put El Niño Jesús in the manger until he’s born. What I was doing – displaying the complete scene with the baby weeks before Christmas – made absolutely no sense to him – (Although cheerleaders attending the birth of Christ apparently makes sense, but I digress.)
For a few years, although I thought it was weird, I let him hide baby Jesus. I also insisted that by his logic, the three kings should be hidden until January, but he ignored me. At this point I must have gotten used to his way of doing things because when I set up the nativity, I handed Jesus over to him without a word and watched him stick him behind a picture frame on a shelf.
This year I’ve tried to make our Nativity a little more Salvadoran. I added a house plant as a palm tree and some rocks from la Libertad, but I definitely want to buy some characters in the years to come. I like the idea of expanding the nativity to look like a town in San Salvador… as long as Carlos let’s me play with it.
What kind of nativity do you have? Do you allow your children to play with the nativity? Why or why not?
Other links to check out:
Los tradicionales nacimientos de barro – Youtube video from ElSalvador.com
Feliz Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe. Happy Virgin de Guadalupe Day.
In celebration, I created two desktop wallpapers of la Virgencita to choose from. They are completely free to download.
Select the wallpaper you like and click to enlarge.
Right click and select “Set as Desktop Background.
When you’re done, you can check out my post about the Virgin of Guadalupe from last year or go to the website of the Basílica de Santa María de Guadalupe in Mexico to send a prayer to the Virgen de Guadalupe. All petitions sent through the website will be placed at the feet de Nuestra Señora in the temple that she asked to be built on Tepeyac. At mass each morning, the petitions are prayed for by clergy.
Que la Virgen morena les cuide, hermanos.
Sometimes I forget how different our childhoods were. This morning, the following conversation:
Tracy: So, in El Salvador, did you open a gift on Noche Buena? [Christmas Eve]
Tracy: And then you opened the rest Christmas morning?
Carlos: What rest? There was only one.
I know that putting up the tree is a tradition many people look forward to each year, but it’s not one of my favorites. For me, putting up the Christmas tree ranks about equal with assisting Carlos with a home repair, because that is pretty much what it devolves into.
Arguments had while putting it up:
• Whether or not the tree smelled funky from being in the closet all year.
• Where to put the tree.
• Whether the tree would scratch up surrounding furniture.
• How loud holiday music should be playing while the tree is being put up, (apparently I like it too loud.)
• How tall to make the tree, (there’s a third section I didn’t want added to the bottom which brings its height all the way to the ceiling.)
• What to put on the tree, (the boys always try to ruin my color scheme.)
• Whether capiruchos make good ornaments, (they do.)
• Who dropped metal hooks on the carpet.
• Where to plug it in.
• Why all the lights weren’t coming on.
• Whether “Mistletoe” by Justin Bieber is a good song or not, (Surprisingly, I say it is.)
Now that it’s done, everyone is happy again. Time to turn the music up, grab some conchas and hot chocolate and cuddle.
While shopping at “Wally World” – I spotted a display of really pretty, shiny, unique-looking piñatas, so of course I wanted to check them out. The tag said they’re “Authentic Mexican Piñatas” made by Aztec Imports, Inc. in El Paso, Texas.
This style of piñata was called “jumbo satellite” according to the tag.
My older son, (who is holding the piñata up for me in the photo), peeked inside, (probably looking for candy), and gasped.
Soup? In the piñata? What in the world could he be talking about? At our house “sopita” is the word we use to refer to Ramen Noodles so I had no clue what he could be seeing until I peeked into the piñata myself.
Hola! 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 in italics!
Aquí está mi esposo, Carlos, graduando de secundaria en El Salvador, con su diploma en mano. (1995)
Here is my husband, Carlos, graduating from high school in El Salvador, with his diploma in hand. (1995)
Y aquí está Carlos anoche con su certificado de Asistente Dental. Recibió un B+ en su examen final.
And here is Carlos last night with his Dental Assisting certificate. He received a B+ on the final exam.
¿Mencioné que él vino a Los Estados Unidos hablando casi nada de inglés? Qué orgullo para sus hijos americanos – y ahora ellos no tienen excusas de no hacer su mejor en la escuela. Si su papá puede hacerlo, ellos pueden hacerlo también.
Did I mention that he came to the United States speaking almost no English? How proud his American children are – and now they have no excuses not to do their best in school. If their Daddy can do it, they can do it, too.
I hope everyone celebrated National Pupusa Day along with El Salvador. We did!
I ordered una de loroco, una de queso y una revuelta … (con una “ESprite” por tomar.)
Earlier in the day when we told the boys we would be eating pupusas for dinner because it was National Pupusa Day, our oldest son asked, “What exactly do they do on Pupusa Day in El Salvador?”
Before I could answer, our younger son piped up, rolling his eyes at his big brother’s ignorance, “On Pupusa Day they worship pupusas!”
Don’t worry – I straightened our cipote out after having a good laugh.
¡Feliz Día de la Pupusa, guanacos!
Links to check out:
Feliz Día Nacional de la Pupusa! (Latinaish.com Post from 2010)