Sub-Cultures within the Latino Culture in America
There are many different cultures and people from different ethnic backgrounds throughout all of the United States.We have many different people that migrated here from all types of countries and from all of the continents.The main culture I will be talking about today in my interviews is the Mexican culture.
The Latino culture contains many sub cultures including many South American countries and Central America. This will be an in depth interview of Mexican culture, but it is only a small fraction compared to the amount of different cultures we have in our country today.
The first person that I interviewed was my girlfriend, Amarise Christine Morales. Amarise was born in Tulare, Ca, but has lived in Fresno, Ca most of her life. Her family originated from Guadalajara, Mx. She says her family has many traditions for different types of events or purposes. For example, every New Years her abuela will cook a big 5 gallon pot of menudo. Every Christmas Eve her family will get together and make tamales for the holidays. “It’s a very fun time with the family and we all stay up late eating and opening presents” said Amarise.
On Christmas Eve it’s a tradition for them to go to Midnight Mass and afterwards they open up their gifts. “One thing that’s easy to notice about my family, we all speak Spanish” said Amarise. “If you’re around my family and you want to speak to my grandparents, you must speak to them in Spanish. If you do not, its kind of like insulting to them. ” Church is also a major tradition in Mexican Culture. Amarise was baptized when she an infant. She made her communion when she was in the fourth, her family was very proud. She then continued to make her confirmation in her early teenage years.
This made her grandparents even more proud of her and showed her obedience to Jesus El Padre. When Amarise turned 15 years old she had a quinceyera. She says it was her favorite birthday out of them all. She had a huge party at a hall with her friends and cousins in the quince. They were all dressed so nice and formal, and Amarise had a beautiful turquoise dress that her Abuelita had bought for her. Over 150 people attended and she had received many gifts and lots of money. One thing that she kept saying was that there are no better fiestas than a Mexican fiesta.
She describes her family get togethers with lots of food and appetizers like chips and salsa, guacamole, and drinks like horchata. They love barbequing for the days when their favorite soccer team, Chivas, play on tv. During Christmas time a week before the 25th, her family will take a trip to Mexico to visit her great grandpa. Usually the family will come back after Christmas, but her Abuela will stay until February. Her great grandpa passed away about 6 months ago at the age of 95. He was a great man that owned his own dairy in Mexico, he left his dairy and all his belongings to all of his kids.
Amarise’s Abuela ended up receiving all of the livestock and she sold them to another dairy in Mexico for well over $200,000. I asked Amarise about any folk tales or scary stories she used to hear as a kid and she told me about three main ones. First was the Chupacabra, which is a made up legend about a weird animal that is mixed species and it kills livestock and sucks their blood dry. I’ve also heard of this story when I was child so it wasn’t knew hearing it. Another story was about the llorona, which meant the lady that cries.
She was a lady that drowned her children in a river, and whenever Amarise went camping she said her older cousin would always tease her and scare her about it. The last urban legend was the Cocui, which was the Mexican Boogey Man that lived under your closet and bed. All of these are Mexican stories and folktale that many familes pass on. The second person I interviewed was Amarise’s grandmother, Maria Guadalupe Carpio Morales. I had to have Amarise translate our questions and answers because my Spanish isn’t fluent enough. Maria Morales was born in Guadalajara Mexico on May 25th 1945.
Her mother Sophia and father Carlos Carpio lived on a 50 acre ranch in Guadalajara, Mexico. They owned their own dairy farm and sold many goods such as livestock, dairy products such as milk, cheese, and butter. Maria’s mother Sophia died when she was a young child at the age of 10 years old. It was devastating but their family of eight kept strong and continued to survive. When Maria was 14 her family decided for them to have a better life then they should come to America. He wanted his children and their children to have more opportunities than he did. So their brothers and sisters ended up getting heir legal papers in Mexico, and then drove across the boarder for a long trip to Stockton, California.
Her father stayed in Guadalajara to manage the family business with her oldest sister Sophia, named after her mother. That summer Maria and her brothers and sisters started working in the fields in Stockton. Maria’s job was packing fruit like apricots, peaches, strawberries and all other types of fruits and vegetables. She also did a lot of the harvesting at Beacon’s Island. To Maria, Mexican culture revolves all around your family, morals, and traditions and religion. You have to be proud of where you come from, Mexican culture is about being proud of who you are” said Maria. “My Father taught all of my brothers and sisters to look out for one another because with out family you have nothing. ” Ever since Maria born her family has been very religious. She was baptized in a church is Guadalajara, but she does not recall the name of it. She has been a practicing Catholic woman since all she can remember. Every Saturday even until this very day she attends mass at 6:45pm to 7:30pm. She refers to Jesus as Mi Padre Jesus.
There are many traditions that Maria has in her life and that she has taught to her family. When a person dies she prays the Rosery prayer to the Virgin Mary for nights in a row to essentially pray that persons soul into heaven. She also practices lint, which is 40 days before Easter Sunday when Jesus walked 40 days and 40 nights without eating anything. So on Ash Wednesday she gives up something that’s valuable to her, but she did not tell us what that was. She said its not good to flaunt what you given up because its disrespectful to who your doing it for, Jesus.
During Lent Season to avoid eating meat on Fridays Maria will cook either fish, like ceviche or shrimp to substitute for the meat. She loves making shrimp cocktail as well as her kids and grandkids. The only time she ever worked was in the fields. Later on in life she moved to Los Angeles with her sisters. It was there where she met Elano Morales, her husband until this day. She stopped working once they became married to raise a family and take care of her three children. One of those children was Carlos Morales, the first generation to be born here in the United States.
He is the father of Amarise who I earlier had interviewed. Maria now lives in Tulare, CA with her husband and some relatives. She continues to pass on the traditions and morals that were passed onto her and only hopes that her grandchildren will continue to her families story. I learned many new things about Mexican culture when interviewing my girlfriend and her grandmother. But I also realized that I wasn’t much different from them. A lot of these things I have already heard of or learned about. For example, all the folklore and scary stories were stories my grandparents told me.
Another thing that is similar is that my grandparents also worked in the fields when they were young. This shows me that everyone’s connected in a way and we know more about one another than we thought. Even though we all come from many different backgrounds, there are many similarities. I believe that this assignment made me a better person and less judgmental of people that do not know how to speak English, regardless of their race. This project really opened me up to new ideas and showed me a different side to the word culture and what it means to Latinos and Latinas.