I love being Latina. I love the traditions of my Mexican culture and how my faith is at the root of my identity as a Mexican American woman. Growing up I took part in certain traditional events such as Día Dia de los Murtos, El Día de los Reyes, and El Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe.
My parents were activists and marched along next to Cesar Chavez and when I was old enough I joined them in the boycotting of pesticides. I grew up in Chicano theater and watched my dad sing center stage in plays like La Virgen del Tepeyac and Borrachera while my mom played the guitar with the other musicians. I was raised to be proud of where I came from and to take my heritage with me wherever I decided my life path would go. At times I'd resent certain ideas that caused my parents to be very strict on me, even to this day, but now I embrace them and appreciate the consistency of these morals. It didn't matter where I moved to, what school I attended, or who I hung out with, my culture and faith stayed with me even if I wandered off path and it was always there to receive me when I came to.
Quinceañeras were also a part of my growing up and signifies a coming of age for young women. This weekend my cousin Anahi had her Quinceanera and it was very nostalgic for me as I saw her step out of the car in her dress for the first time, watch her walk through the church with her damas and chambelanes and offer the Virgen de Guadalupe flowers at the alter.
Observing Anahi that day I realized how much more mature and appreciative she was in comparison to the 15 year old me. Everything she did showed us that she was indeed honoring this tradition and the people who helped mold her into the woman she is today. Do you have traditions that you've grown around? I used to think everyone did most of the traditions that I grew up doing but now that I'm older I realize that most of them came from my Mexican culture. Wait, you don't eat an oval shaped sweet bread for El Día de los Reyes on January 6th that has a plastic baby Jesus in it and whoever gets the piece of bread with baby Jesus hosts a party for Candlemas Day on February 2nd?? Hmm, weird.