Traditions and Our Culture
The word "celebrate" suggests having a fiesta or a party, but it also means to acknowledge or observe a special occasion, i.e., a priest celebrates the wedding ceremony with appropriate rites, or the nation observes Memorial Day with flags and ceremonies. While there are lots of fiestas in the Latino culture, most people think the celebration is all about a party. In fact, behind every gathering, every celebration or fiesta, there is a deeper cultural meaning based on history and tradition. For example, the harvest season signals the availability of food for the coming year, and historically this is celebrated in every culture. The rituals for a wake the day before a funeral make it possible for a family to receive the attention, love, and support of their friends at a difficult time. This is a different kind of celebration of life.
Most celebrations include, eating, drinking dancing, music, and props such as flowers, decorations, candles, or even fireworks. The more somber celebrations may not have dancing, but they might include a procession or costumes reenacting the Nativity or a Passion Play at Easter. Some reenactments might be historical such as the ringing of the bells at diez y seis de septiembre and crying "Viva Mexico".
It is important to note that while parts of the Unites States were originally Mexico (or New Spain) the traditions and celebrations continue but are modified as the culture is influenced by modernity and society. The Dia de Muertos, for example, was a merging of an ancient indigenous celebration where families welcomed a visit by those departed, combined with the Catholic Church's celebration of All Saints Day and All Souls Days. In a modern society people may think it is all about painting your face like a sugar skull and displaying dressed up skeletons. Some people may even call it Mexican Halloween. These distortions also distort the truth and the meaning of the celebration.
We offer you this section of information to explore the celebrations of our culture. We will continue to add more information about our festivals and celebrations and work to keep them authentic in our modern worlds.