Latino culture

The A to Z Challenge: Y and Z

Enough (in Spanish, YA), photo by Rux Centea for unsplash.com

Last day of the A to Z Challenge: Today is Y and Z: YAY!

That’s a Y but we’re concentrating on Spanish words for this challenge.

Y is for “Ya” which means Enough, or Already, or “Enough already.”

When a Spanish speaking parent didn’t want to hear their kids continuing to ask/beg/argue for something, they’d say

“Ya!” or” Ya pues.” 

Z is the last letter in Spanish too. The letter is pronounced “Zeta.”

Z is for Zanahoria: Carrots.

The Spanish “z” is pronounced differently in Spain than in Latin America. In Spain, it is pronounced like the th” in the English word “think.” In Latin America, it’s pronounced like the letter “s.”

This is a word I frequently mispronounce as Zanoria, which I chalk up to my lazy tongue.

My favorite way to eat zanahorias? Roasted street carrots from Lazy Dog Restaurant.

Roasted Street Carrots from Lazy Dog Restaurant.

 

This recipe is a twist on Mexican street corn using organic rainbow heirloom carrots, garlic, queso blanco, cilantro lime crema, and Tajin. Tastes as delicious as they look.

In June I’ll travel to Spain and need to remember to use the “th” sound for zanahoria’s and not the “s,” or I may be served something else on my plate other than carrots.

Thank you for visiting and sharing. photo by hanny naibaho, unsplashcom

 

Taking on the challenge, and finishing, has resulted in little stories that I’d forgotten and reminded me that I need to learn more “proper” Spanish.

I’ve enjoyed visiting different countries and hearing stories through the A to Z challenge: France, Mexico, India, Germany and several states in the USA.

Thank you to everyone who connected with me here. I’ve followed a few blogs and look forward to reading your stories.

Gracias!

 

Healing, Latino culture, Loss, Mexican traditions, Writing

Do You Know How to Use a Curandera?

Mexican Seri Woman Crossing the Desert
Mexican Seri Woman Crossing the Desert photo by Gabriela Iturbides

Do you know how to naturally heal fright or trauma? No? More about susto later.

During the last two years, I’ve worked on a story about an ambitious twenty-one-year-old with a ten-year plan to become a State Senator who drops out of college because of a broken engagement. She meets a grandmother and granddaughter who are curanderas. Although she doesn’t believe in this Mexican tradition of healers she takes matters into her own hands and makes a love potion. When the wrong people, her mother, ex-fiancé and others, drink the potion and fall in love she has to discover an antidote. Her search takes her to Oaxaca, Mexico to meet a curandera who may be able to help her heal her susto and give her the correct potion to make things right.

city of Puebla, Mexico
Puebla, Oaxaca, Mexico photo by Russ Bowling, unsplash.com

When I was a kid, every mother knew of a local curandera. Using their services was normal. For centuries, the Mexican culture has had curanderasSome cultures may call these people shamans, or medicine men or women. Some people call them, incorrectly, witches. 

Curanderismo is a healing art and a curandera/o is a healer who uses herbs, ointments, massage, and cleansings to cure an illness and do spiritual and psychic healings. They and the community believe the curandera has a spiritual calling to heal. They are often descendants of other curanderas.

mayan, healer, maya
Margarita, Mayan Healer

The photo above shows a Mayan healer in Mexico. In the U.S, and my experience, the curanderas were usually grandmothers wearing aprons or elderly men in work clothes who conducted their ritual healings in their home or garage. Now they are more likely to work in a botanica which sells candles, oils, herbs, and other items such as amulets.

Using the services of a healer involved a small fee or a barter. This is probably why most Mexicans and Mexican Americans used a curandera. Either a doctor visit was too expensive, wasn’t available, or the doctor dismissed an ailment. Here’s a link to a doctor who discusses traditional remedies.  

But back to healing fright or susto. It seems there are degrees of susto. A person can be suffering a shock, an emotional trauma, or be in such a state of anxiety that they can’t function; which is the case with my main character in my novel in progress. When this happens, they are said to be suffering from susto.

A spiritual cleansing, limpia,  is often used by taking a bunch of selected herbs made into a small hand broom which is whacked across the entire body. This removes negative energy. After this, an egg is held above the head, moved around the body, and cracked open into a container which the curandera inspects. Why an egg? It is believed that an egg has the natural ability to absorb engergies around it. Finally, water is spit on the person. I know, sounds strange but this is what happens.

Curanderismo is not only a Mexican tradition but one that is found in most of Latin America and the Carribean. The subject is one that has fascinated me so much I had to write a novel (work-in-progress) featuring curanderas. Take a look at my storyboard for this novel. You may come across some interesting information.

Disclaimer: This post is not suggesting you use a curandera in lieu of a medical practitioner; that is your own decision.