Category Archives: holiday
It’s almost the 4th of July, gente. You know what that means, right?
Time to stock up on fireworks so you have cuetes to set off later this year on Noche Buena.
It’s birthday party season again and one of the more popular posts on Latinaish is Latino vs. Anglo Birthday Party. A Spanish version of this post was even published in the June/July 2010 issue of SerPadres Magazine after being discovered on Tiki Tiki Blog. So here it is for those of you who are new here or who might have missed it!
The Differences Between an Anglo Kid’s Birthday Party and a Latino Kid’s Birthday Party
#1. Who gets to come?
Anglo – Those whose names are written on the invitation.
Latino – Those whose names are written on the invitation, plus their uncles, cousins, and sometimes random neighbors who had nothing better to do that day.
#2. What time should we come?
Anglo – The time is right there on the invitation.
Latino – An hour late, or else the hosts won’t be ready when you arrive.
#3. Food Etiquette
Anglo – Eat only what is given to you. Don’t ask for seconds even if you’re really hungry.
Latino – Eat as much as you want and then ask for plates to take home leftovers for eating later or to bring to family members who didn’t feel like coming.
#4. Singing, dancing, music
Anglo – The only music heard is when the kids sing “Happy Birthday” at cake time. Dancing is rare, but when it happens, it is usually the “Hokey Pokey”.
Latino – WHAT?! I CAN’T HEAR YOU! THE MUSIC IS TOO LOUD! … Adults dance Perreo in front of the kids, no importa.
Anglo – Of course not! What’s wrong with you?! It’s a CHILDREN’S birthday party!
Latino- Claro que sí! … The cerveza is there in the cooler, hermano!
Anglo – A strict schedule of organized activities and games for the children.
Latino – Niños, go play in the street or something. Stop bothering the grown ups! We’ll do the piñata later! Híjole!
#7. What’re we eating?
Anglo – Probably pizza.
Latino – Steak, chicken, rice, beans, salad, tortillas, etc. Load your styrofoam plate up until it’s ready to crack under the weight.
#8. When does the party end?
Anglo – Refer to your invitation. Thank your hosts and excuse yourself on the dot. Clear out!
Latino – Party until everyone’s tired and/or Tío Eduardo passes out on the couch while watching a fútbol game.
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 at the bottom!
Hola gringos! Listos para celebrar cinco de mayo este fin de semana? Bueno, por los que no son gringos, les explico por qué celebramos el aniversario de una batalla en Puebla, México. La mayoría de la gente celebra cinco de mayo en los Estados Unidos no más por tener excusa tomar cerveza, margaritas, y tequila, disfrutar de música mariachi, vestirnos en sombreros y sarapes y comer comida “mexicana” (estilo estado unidense, todo cubierto en queso y salsa.) Eso es!
Y sí, sabemos que somos un poco ridículos – hasta podemos reírnos de nosotros mismos!
Hola gringos! Ready to celebrate Cinco de Mayo this weekend? Well, for those of you who aren’t gingos, let me explain to you why we celebrate the anniversary of a battle in Puebla, Mexico. The majority of the people in the United States celebrate Cinco de Mayo just to have an excuse to drink beer, margaritas and tequila, enjoy mariachi music, get dressed up in sombreros and sarapes, and eat “Mexican” food (American-style, all covered in cheese and salsa.) That’s it!
And yes, we know we’re a little ridiculous – we can even laugh at ourselves.
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.
Did your novio forget your flowers? (Or in my case, did you wake up too late to sneak a note into your macho’s lunch box?) … No te preocupes! Here is a Valentine’s Day gift from Latinaish.com that all of you procrastinators are free to re-gift. Put them on your valentine’s Facebook wall, E-mail them to friends, Pin them to Pinterest, or print them to hang up on the door for when the kids get home from school. The posibilidades are endless. Feliz Día de San Valentín!
Update: Here’s an extra one added by request.
Thanks to Kate Pullen for making the blank conversation heart clipart available for use.
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!
Immigrant Voices is a new feature I hope to do here on Latinaish.com once in awhile. Basically I will pick a topic and those who identify with being a Latino/a immigrant will send me their thoughts/memories on that topic to share here. Those who participate are welcome to remain anonymous if they wish. If a name is given, I’ll also provide a link back to their Twitter profile and/or blog.
Today’s topic is “Christmas.” I hope you enjoy the stories shared here today.
“My first Christmas in the United States, I don’t really remember. I had only been here a couple months and I wasn’t working yet. All the days passed the same sometimes. My second Christmas here, in 1997, Tracy and I had a wedding date picked in January but she lived with her parents and I still lived with my brother. That year my brother went with his wife and daughter to Puerto Rico to visit her side of the family. I was all alone in their apartment on Christmas Eve and there wasn’t even any food in the house. I didn’t have money or a car. I didn’t really have any friends. It started to snow outside the windows, and someone knocked at the door. It was Tracy and she came with grocery bags full of food. We pulled the sofa bed out of the couch and spent the evening eating and watching T.V. together. It wasn’t anything like Christmas in El Salvador, but I was happy during those hours she stayed with me.”
- Carlos López (Blog)
“My best memory is that of the Christmas I spent with my grandpa in Tejutepeque, a small village in Cabanhas.
My sisters and I ended up living with him for a while and part of that time included the Christmas season. He didn’t have a tree or anything else as he wasn’t accustomed to having kids over or in general, decorating his house.
His solution: chop down a coffee tree from the local hills. He then proceeded to decorate it with whatever was around the house like packing peanuts, etc. In the end, everyone in town wanted to check it out because it was so unique.”
“For my mom, my sister and I, living ‘sin papeles’ was hard enough, but when the holidays came around it felt like we had it twice as hard…mainly because we moved around a lot and we never knew if we were even going to have a Christmas or where we would end up. But somehow my mom always worked her magic and found a way to get a tree and put gifts under it for us. And if we needed a place to stay, we knew we could always count on friends or family. We may not have had much, but just being around family and friends during the holidays was very comforting and gave us some of the best memories of our childhood.”
- Rafael Gameros (Twitter)
“I was 7 when I came to live in the States. Besides the general cultural shock, the Christmas tradition shock was even greater. I had always spent Noche Buena with my Abuelitos in El Salvador, but only my Abuelita migrated with me. Abuelito refused to come. So the first 3 or 4 years, right after opening presents, stuffing my face with “Sanwiches de Pollo Salvadoreños” and having fun with my family, my stomach would become a knot and I would retire to my room, to cry. It would not be a melancholic cry either, it would be a hysterical sob fest. I still get chills remembering my 9 year-old self crying into my pillow, missing my Abuelito and the Salvadoran Christmas of my younger years. Abuelo passed away 3 years ago, and I only saw him twice after emigrating to the US…”
- Emisela (Twitter)
Celebrating Christmas as a Latino in the U.S. means strategically finding the line between your own cultural beliefs and society as a whole. For us, it means going to mass on Christmas to celebrate the birth of Jesus but also enjoying Santa and all the commercialism of the day. When my “American” friends ask how we celebrate Christmas, I find it hard to say that we had tamales – my response is usually, “traditional/family.”
- Hector Flores (Twitter)
“Growing up, my sister and I would have to board a plane every other year to spend Christmas with our dad and his new family in Houston. We were always happy to visit and be with him, but I could never get over the fact that Christmas in Houston was much quieter and serene than it was in El Salvador. I always missed the smell of pólvora (gun powder) and going to sleep way, way past midnight to the sound of cuetes being lit all around.”
Early Christmas Day… we groggily made it out of bed, following my mother into the living room…There, smiling from ear to ear next to the white three story bookshelf he’d built with his own hands was my father, not saying a word, just pointing at what was sitting on each layer of the shelf…Immediately we raced across the room, screaming and hollering, jumping from one end of the room to the other with our brand new toy cars in our hands. The size, make, model, and even the color of our cars, today, are memories long gone, many, many years ago, but the one thing that has always remained in the deepest and most treasured of my childhood memories is the feeling in our hearts that morning.
We knew we didn’t have any money. We didn’t have a Christmas tree, or even so much as a single Christmas light anywhere inside or outside of our house, but somehow, some way, whatever little money they had, our parents had managed to make certain we didn’t wake up to just another day on Navidad. Even better, my two older sisters didn’t get anything at all and they were just as happy and excited for us as we were.”
My first Christmas was in Michigan. I was recently married, so it was the first Christmas with my hubby, (so romantic). I loved the idea of a white Christmas, a freshly cut tree, a fireplace, different food to what I usually had etc. But then it hit me. I had no family to hug at 12 o’clock, no fireworks, no kids’ laughter, no cumbia music in the background. I felt very nostalgic. I felt so lonely and even though my husband had tons of love and presents to give me, there was an enormous emptiness in my heart. I talked to my family, every single one of them. They were all together at my house. They told me what the menu was going to be, all the fireworks they had bought, and how much they missed me.
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.
Last year I made what I ended up calling our “First and last ofrenda.” … Eager to start a new tradition on a holiday as beautiful as Día de los Muertos, I made an altar for Carlos’s father without realizing that Carlos grew up in a country, (El Salvador), that, for the most part, doesn’t take part in the type of Day of the Dead festivities you usually think of when you think about November 2nd.
In El Salvador, Carlos explained, Day of the Dead, or “Día de los Difuntos” as I hear his family call it, is a somber day to go to the cemetery, clean the graves of loved ones, decorate the graves with flowers, have names repainted on the tombstone, and maybe stick around for a quiet picnic. Unlike Mexico, or neighboring Guatemala, El Salvador doesn’t really celebrate Day of the Dead with fun parties.
Being that Carlos wasn’t comfortable having an altar for his father, I thought this was one tradition that just wasn’t meant to be for our family, but my boys had other ideas.
“Aren’t you going to make an ofrenda this year? I liked that tradition,” my older son asked.
“I liked it too but it made Daddy unhappy to have an altar for his father so we shouldn’t make one this year.”
“But we can make a different one. I’d like to have one for Ginger,” he said, referring to the family dog we put down over the summer.
“Can you have an ofrenda for a dog?” he asked, “Cause they have spirits, too.”
I agreed, and so that is why I made an ofrenda for Ginger this evening, instead of working on various other things I was supposed to be doing.
Ginger liked to chase rabbits that would slip under the fence right before she caught them – though I would bet money that had she ever caught one, she wouldn’t have known what to do with it – I think she just wanted to play. She was a tall German Shepherd mix who played gentle with all creatures smaller than herself – from other dogs, to cats, and even babies.
We adopted her from the Humane Society and it seemed like she always remembered that and thanked us for it. She didn’t know any fancy tricks – just the basics – but she was bilingual – responding to commands in both English and Spanish. We jokingly called her “Jengibre” since “Ginger” is the name she came with and I wanted to give her a Spanish name. Suegra found it disturbing that the dog’s name tag said “Ginger López” – she had never met a dog with a last name before.
Ginger loved to be wherever I was. Even if she was comfortable laying on the other side of the room, all I had to do was make eye contact and she’d get up to come closer to me. She refused to catch a frisbee or play fetch but she loved to play chase, especially if you had a pocketful of breakfast cereal. Her only sin was climbing up on the sofa when no one was home, but she had enough respect to climb down when she heard the keys in the door.
We miss Ginger. She was described by family and neighbors as “a sweetheart.” We hope she’s chasing rabbits in a better place.