I don't have to share my culture with my children, we just live it. We breathe it in, we listen to it, we smell it, we touch it, we see it and we taste it.
I thought of what my culture meant to me as a child. I was confused, always searching for a true reflection. Aside from my family and the vast network of aunts, uncles and cousins, I didn't know anyone else like me. In my small rural community dotted with orange groves and horse trails, there were white people and there were Mexicans. The Mexicans had dark skin, worked at the local dairy and they spoke no English. I wasn't white--that, at least, I knew. But by the same token, I knew I wasn't Mexican either. Mexican-American, yes. Our skin was brown and we ate Mexican food and my grandparents spoke Spanish but it wasn't the same. This put me in this weird gray area--neither here nor there. Just floating somewhere in the middle.
I'd like to think that my children are nowhere near floating somewhere in the middle.
They are confident in their culture. There is no confusion and doubt like there was for me. They are blessed because they can embrace where they came from and how we live on a daily basis.
My mother didn't know about Dia de los Muertos and it wasn't until I was in college that I grew some understanding. The idea of honoring the dead who have passed before you, making it a beautiful, colorful day where people can share their artistry appealed to me. I knew it was something I'd want to expose the chil'rens to, and so ever since they can remember we have made November 2nd a special day. It's bittersweet, too. We practice honoring the dead in theory, since we have yet to experience the loss of a loved one who is very close to us. I'm sure whenever that happens, Dia de los Muertos will take on a whole new meaning to them.
I recently had the chance to visit Nestlé HQ to celebrate Dia de los Muertos, "A Su Manera" with a select group of Latina bloggers, such as Presley's Pantry, Spanglish Baby, Mami Talks, Unknown Mami, Nibbles and Feasts and The Crafty Chica. I was excited to be in such amazing company. We all had a chance to share what our culture meant to us--the importance of family, food, and the language.
|Each table was decorated with elements of Dia de los Muertos and my absolute FAVE coffee: NESCAFÉ® Café de Olla.|
|As we shared our stories, the tears flowed. We all shared a common thread: a love for our culture and its diversity.|
|Nicole from Presley's Pantry was a good sport and volunteered to have her face painted as a calaca.|
|I was sooo excited to discover a carafe of NESTLÉ® ABUELITA hot chocolate for us to enjoy throughout the entire event. One deep inhale from my cup and the lovely scent just took me back to when I was ten years old and my Nana used to make Abuelita for us before we went to school.|
|There were beautiful papel picado pieces on display, created by mypapelpicado.com.|
|We were able to create our own papel picado banners. Working with the delicate tissue paper gave me a whole new appreciation for this art!|
|This chocolate pecan pie was made with Abuelita chocolate! Swoon.|
|I love to hang out with this lovely lady every chance I get. She was definitely one of the perks of the day.|
Here is a short clip of us getting into the creative spirit of papel picado (special appearance by the Crafty Chica herself!):
Nescafé will be a sponsor at the Dia de los Muertos event at Hollywood Forever Cemetery this year and I am soooo excited--you have no idea! I cannot wait to go and take in all of the sights and sounds.