In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15th-October 15th), I thought it would be the perfect time to share what it’s like growing up Mexican-American. I believe that Latinos that grow up in the US have the best of both worlds! We can choose between carne asada or McDonald’s for dinner, although we know our mama will insist on the frijoles we have at home.
I am a first generation Mexican-American, meaning that both of my parents immigrated to the United States. A challenge for me is growing up and finding the balance between sticking to my family's culture and customs as well as adapting to the American culture. But I have to say, I love good old American Football as much as the next person but some Mexican family traditions I wouldn’t change for the world. Here are some things I’ve noticed about my family does a little different compared to others.
1. Always being surrounded by delicious food
It didn’t matter if it was a holiday or a regular Wednesday night, my mom and tia always had something cooking. I remember going over to my friend's house and trying macaroni and cheese for the first time, she was so shocked that I’ve never had it before. But don’t even get me started about a Mexican-American Christmas! It is my absolute favorite time of year, not because I get to unwrap presents but because I finally got to eat those famous tamales mi tia always makes.
2. “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” was more than just a brand
Believe it or not, Mexican-Americans have been helping save the environment long before going green was cool. My mom saves any container she buys and refuses to buy real tupperware.To this day it takes me at least five minutes to find the right container. I would find salsa in a sour cream container and arroz in a butter container. Personally, I prefer buying actual tupperware just to avoid the awkward question: “Why did you bring a tub of butter for lunch?”
3. Ghost stories are all fun and games until the clock strikes midnight
You may have been scared of the Boogie Man of the monster hiding in your closet when you were young, but that is nothing compared some Latino legends. I don’t know what was worse, having your mom yell at you for forgetting to turn off the frijoles or hearing a scary story about La Llorona or El Cucuy before bed. La Llorona is a legend of a woman who drowned her children and now haunts the streets at night looking for children. El Cucuy is legend about a man who would kidnap disobedient children. Every Latino has their own version of the story behind La Llorona, and to this day I would rather not upset any type of ghost!
4. Who said weekends were for sleeping in?
Chore charts and calendars may have been how some families kept track of cleaning day, but my family was a little different. The moment I heard my parents blasting Ranchera songs in the morning, I knew it is going to be a long day of cleaning and whining. It didn’t matter if you were five or 55, you were required to help out in one way or another. And as much as I hated it growing up, every time I play Spanish music, I switch into cleaning mode real quick!
5. You were born to party!
Latino parties, especially Mexican parties, are my favorite thing in the world! Anything from baptisms to Quinceañeras to first birthdays, you know you are always going to have a great time! There is always going to be amazing food, loud music, and that one tio that is always making a fool out of himself. No matter how old I get, I can’t resist a fun Quinceañera with a great banda!
All in all, growing up Mexican-American is something I take a lot of pride in. As much as I love the American culture, I wouldn’t trade my Mexican roots for anything in the world! If it wasn’t for my Mexican culture, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Arriba los Latino y arriba mi gente de Sinaloa!!
What are some things you experienced while growing up? Did your family have do anything similar to the things above? Comment below!