Latino culture

Día De Los Muertos is Coming, Are You Ready?

Day of the Dead Ofrenda honoring Mexican women in the arts, 2015.

 

There is so much energy in the air I can feel the spirits descending.

November 1st is generally referred to as Día De Los Inocentes (Day of the Innocents) or Día De Los Angelitos (Day of the Little Angels).

November 2nd is the actual DÍa De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

The past week in America has been particularly sorrowful. Perhaps, honoring the departed on November 1st and 2nd is helpful to you.

During our childhood, we had altars year round. They always contained the Virgen de Guadalupe, Sacred Heart of Jesus, votives, and one or two photos of someone who recently passed.

To celebrate the Day of the Dead people make altars or ofrendas (offerings) to their deceased. This can be at a cemetery (like in Mexico), in your living room, kitchen, bedroom, wherever you like.

This year my mom made a Day of the Dead altar in the living room. One side of the altar contained the photos of her deceased sisters and brothers, sister-in-law’s, and cousins. The other side, as you can see, has photos of her parents and my dad, and Cesar Chavez, who my mother admired so much.

Ofrenda to parents and husband and Cesar Chavez

My sister’s ofrenda dedicated to the memory of her husband, friends, and our relatives:

A bedroom ofrenda for Dia De Los Muertos

 

An altar in the library of the high school where my sister works:

An ofrenda in a high school library
http://www.alvaradofrazier.com

 

Ofrendas and altars are our way of visiting with, remembering and honoring our ancestors and loved ones who’ve departed.

If you are thinking of making your own altar (you still have time) check out these past posts.

The Icons of Day of the Dead.

What’s Up With Mexican Culture and Death?

The Icons of Day of the Dead.

I leave you with these poems from sddayofthedead.org/poems

“In the indigenous, aboriginal perspective on death, both life and death are mere aspects of a common duality or eternal cycle, as denoted in the following Native American poem from North America:

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on the snow.
I am the sunlight on the ripened grain.
I am the gentle Autumn’s rain.

When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry:
I am not there, I did not die.

What is Death?
What is death? It is the glass of life broken into a
thousand pieces, where the soul disperses like
perfume from a flask, into the silence of the eternal night.

Unknown Author

Through the Eyes of the Soul, Day of the Dead in Mexico
Unique Life
Be as happy as you can, oh king Tecayehyatzin
You who appreciates the jewels that flourish!
Will we live again?

Your heart knows this:
We only live once!
Vida única
¡Alégrate en extremo, oh rey Tecayehuatzin,
valuador de joyas florecientes!

¿Acaso una vez más vendremos a vivir?
Tu corazón lo sabe así:
¡Sólo una vez venimos a la vida!

Xayacamachan 1510 A.D.

 

If you have any questions/comments, please let me know. Thanks!

Latino culture

A to Z Challenge Just Became More Challenging: W and X

Today I’m listing two words in Spanish that beginning with W and X.

Why?

There are no native words in Mexican Spanish that begin with the letter W.

I wonder if that’s the case in other languages?

Most W words are English based, like “WiFi,” meaning wireless networks.

In a sentence, you’d hear someone say “Hay wifi?” translation, “Is there wifi?

Wifi symbol, photo by rawpixel.com for unsplash.com

 

There are plenty of words that begin with X but most are proper nouns, Mayan or Nahuatl words. Such as:

Xavier, which is a male name,

or the infamous Xolo, short for Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced show-loh-eets-KWENT-lee) a pre-Columbian dog dating back 3,500 years.

The Xolo is featured in paintings by Frida Kahlo, whose husband Diego Rivera had as pets. The breed has been AKC registered since the late 1800’s.

Cute but not fluffy:

The Xoloitzcuintli

So, today’s challenge was short and sweet, like Wifi and Xolo.

See you Saturday and thanks for visiting.

Latino culture

A to Z Challenge: R is for Rana and a Rhyme

Little tail of the frog. Photo by Jared Evans for unsplash.com

R is for Rana, a frog.

Anytime a kid in the neighborhood (under age 5) fell or got a cut his/her mother would rub or tap the area and sing this:

Spanish:
“Sana, sana, colita de rana,
y si no se cura ahorita, se cura mañana.”

In English, it’s confusing and doesn’t make sense.

“Healthy, healthy, little tail of a frog,
and if not cured now, cured tomorrow.”

 

As a kid, I wondered why the little tail of a frog was involved in a healing rhyme.

The frog tail portion may allude to folklore or tales of healing, involving a curandera’s (healer) use of “tail of frog,” or “eye of newt.”

The rhyme is not to be confused with this frog:

Not this frog. Photo by Jonathan Youssef for unsplash.com

 

I never thought to ask why my mom or aunts sang this song. I went with it and kept the song going with my own kids, puzzling another generation.

This rhyme is only for little kids. Once you hit five, if you fell, cut, or otherwise injured yourself you were expected to get up, dust yourself off, and keep going.

Latino culture, Mexican food

A to Z Challenge: P is for Pepino and Q is for …

This is all you need for a cool summer appetizer: Pepinos con chile

P is for Pepino, a cucumber.

You know how certain seasons have smells associated with them?

Some of these are Mexican food aromas like Christmas is chocolately champurrado and steaming green chile tamales.

Summer’s fragrances in the kitchen are the sweetness of watermelon and lemony taste of crisp cucumbers. Since pepinos are plentiful in the summer, they make for a cool dish on a hot day.

The recipe is super simple:

Peel and slice 2 cucumbers into circles or spears, arrange on a dish with edges

Squeeze a large lemon or two limes over the pepinos

Dust the top of the pepinos with chile powder or Tajin

Refrigerate if you want colder cucumbers.

Cucumber water accumulates at the bottom of the dish, you can mix this with cold water for a cucumber drink.

Another version is a cucumber salad. Slice the cucumbers and quarter them, put them in a bowl, add lemon/lime juice, a dash of salt, chopped cilantro, and diced tomato, red pepper flakes or Tajin. Chill.

Onto the letter Q. Q is for Que and Qué?

¿Qué….? in a question usually means What? Quiero saber qué es….. (indirect question)

¡Qué…..! in an exclamation usually means How….! or What a ….! (the accent on the e means one’s voice raises higher).

que (relative pronoun used to introduce a subordinate clause) usually means “that”, but can also mean whichwho or what depending on the context. (no stress over the e).

And if that’s not enough to remember, the slang phrase “Que qué?” means “Say what?!

¿Que qué?

 

See you mañana.