Culture

20 Things Mexican Families Do That You Didn’t Realize Were Odd Until You Moved Out

Every culture has its quirky traditions, but Mexican families are kind of extra when it comes to funny habits and superstitions.

Here are 20 perfect examples of things Mexican families do that other families uh…. don’t.

1. Heating up tortillas on the stove

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No Mexican worth her salt heats up tortillas in the microwave.

But the first time you fired up the back burner to char a tortilla at someone else’s house, I bet they were surprised.

2. Bonus points if you flipped them with your fingers

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Also, I don’t know what you used tongs for in your house, but in a Mexican kitchen, you better flip those babies with your fingers, and you better be fast.

3. Eating Menudo on Christmas morning

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Ah yes, waking up on Christmas morning to a crackling fire, a fresh snowfall, and the smell of tripe and cow’s feet simmering on the stove. Mmmm.

4. Shoving people’s faces in their birthday cake

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No one really seems to know how or why this tradition started, but there’s no escaping it in a Mexican family.

Someone’s going to trick you into “smelling” your cake, and you might as well just accept it.

5. Tamale assembly lines

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Making tamales isn’t just a multi-step process, it’s a crucial Mexican family bonding experience. Pull up a chair and get to work spreading the masa.

6. Cooking everything in lard or bacon grease

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Mexican Abuelitas don’t mess around with olive oil or cooking spray.

Everything tastes better fried in pure fat.

7. And still calling it “vegetarian”

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In my nana’s kitchen, vegetarian = no visible meat.

Those beans cooked in bacon fat? Si, vegetarian.

8. Bringing your own Lechera out to eat

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You can’t just assume that the restaurant is going to have it, and what are you going to do, eat your pancakes with syrup??

9. Wrapping hot dogs in tortillas

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The best snack you’re going to find. Of course, it’s not just hot dogs, you can wrap anything in a nice corn tortilla and call it lunch.

10. Putting limón and chile on everything

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And I mean everything.

I’ve seen Mexican ladies putting Tapatio on their ice cream.

11. Making the sign of the cross when someone sneezes.

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It’s not enough to say “bless you”. Mexican families go the extra step to make sure God notices.

Read: 20 Latino Brands That Are Clearly Superior To All Others

 12. Shouting “dale dale dale” at children hitting a piñata

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The piñata has become a staple of lots of children’s birthday parties, but you know you’re at a Mexican family party when everyone is chanting “dale!” at the top of their lungs.

Read: These 20 Memes Will Have Latinas Saying ‘Same AF’

13. Putting something gold in your champagne

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I didn’t know this was a Mexican tradition until recently.

Apparently, a gold object in celebratory champs is supposed to bring good luck and fortune. Can’t hurt!

Read: These Are The Legendary Wrestlers From The Golden Age In Mexico

14. Drinking Abuelita and calling it “hot chocolate”

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Remember the first time you had hot chocolate that wasn’t Abuelita and you couldn’t understand why it was so bland?

Read: Here Are 27 Gifts For Your Pan Dulce-Obsessed Self

15. Making “instant guacamole” by mashing Tapatio into half an avocado

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The laziest of guacamole recipes will always hold a special place in a Mexican girl’s heart.

Read: 24 Ways To Use Avocado That Aren’t Guacamole

16. Going swimming in your “chonies”

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For some reason, it wasn’t just swimming in your underpants if you called them “chonies”.

17. Calling any shoe that’s not a boot or a sneaker “chanclas”

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A chancla is supposed to be a very specific type of woven sandal, but in my house, everything from a flip-flop to an open-toe heel was a chancla.

18. Bonus point if you ever got hit with a chancla for being bad

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Or, just threatened with one. Callate!

19. Putting Vicks VapoRub on everything

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The first line of defense against everything from a stuffy nose to a stomach ache.

If Vicks can’t fix it, you’re in big trouble.

Read: 25 Vicks VapoRub Inspired Products For Bath Bomb Night

20. Boiling cinnamon to cancel out any bad smell

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Who needs Febreze? That sweet cinnamon smell will bring you right back home 🙂


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These 20 Latino Sayings Will Get You Through Any And Every Day

Culture

These 20 Latino Sayings Will Get You Through Any And Every Day

Sai De Silva / Unsplash

Life is complicated. Luckily, Latinos have sayings, or refrains, that help with managing expectations and making better choices. Beyond offering sound advice, some clever sayings, when dropped like jewels at just the right moment, help transform tension into laughter. While some sayings seem outdated, folk witticisms leftover from the early days, they address elements of the human condition that are timeless like love, jealousy, ingratitude, and morality. Whether deciding to stay in a long-distance relationship or looking for an old-school diss, these 20 Latino sayings are worth memorizing and dishing out the next time a golden opportunity presents itself.

Talk About Love

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1. Mejor sola que mala acompañada.

Better to be alone then among bad company. This saying is great for those moments when the fear of being alone starts to kick in. More deeply, this timeless saying is also reflective of the importance of self- love.

2. Amor de lejos, felices los cuatros.

In long-distance love, four people are happy. This pessimistic proverb suggests long-distance relationships provide fertile ground for infidelity. This saying came about before technology helped couples stay more in touch than ever. And yet, the possibility remains.

3. Juntos pero no revueltos.

Together but not mixed. This dicho is the equivalent of saying, “It’s complicated.” It’s a great way to explain why a couple doesn’t live together, or why they are not married.

4. Un clavo saca otro clavo.

A nail removes the other nail. The meaning behind this refrán is that a new relationship, or lover, can help a person get over a failed relationship.

5.  Ojos que no ven, corazón que no siente.

Out of sight, out of mind. It’s hard to say this refrán without thinking about Alexis & Fido’s 2009 hit song.

Proceed With Caution

Credit: Belinda Fewings / Unsplasj

6. Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres.

Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are. This saying has come out of many parents’ mouths. It’s a perfect proverb for helping a person decide what kind of company they should keep.

7. Más sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo.

The devil knows more because he is old than because he is the devil. In other words, with age comes wisdom. This saying also warns against elders who may be sly or have bad intentions.

8. Con un dedo no se tapa el sol.

The sun cannot be covered with a finger. This is a great piece of advice that addresses the way self-deception is harmful. It also calls out quick fixes that don’t serve to address larger issues.

9. En boca cerrada no entran moscas.

A closed mouth does not catch flies. This idiom more accurately translates to ‘silence is golden.’ This refrán extols the virtues of discretion.

10. El que no llora, no mama.

The baby who doesn’t cry, doesn’t get milk. This saying is akin to ‘the squeaky wheel gets the grease.’ A great refrán serving to inspire vocalization of needs and wants.

Insults Que Arden

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11. A otro perro con ese hueso.

To another dog with that bone. It’s the “talk to the hand” of all the idioms. Deploy this saying at the sight of deception. 

12. Se cree la última Coca Cola del desierto.

He/She thinks they are the last Coca-Cola in the desert. A third-degree burn, this little gem calls out people who think they are more attractive or desirable than everyone else.

13. Se cree mejor de la bolita del mundo.

He/She thinks they are the best in the world. The exact translation fails to convey the hilarity of this saying. While also a diss to those who think they are hot stuff, the saying reduces the entire planet into a tiny, little ball.

14. Se fue de Guatemala a Guata-peor!

This a saying that relies on a play on words, mala meaning bad, and peor meaning worse. The idea is that the person went from one bad situation to an even worse situation.

15. Cuando tu ibas, yo venia.

When you were coming, I was leaving. A great diss from an elder, this dicho also conveys a knowing that comes with age. It works particularly well when directed at teenagers who attempt to be deceptive but are really transparent. 

For the Nostalgia and the LOLs

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16. Quien fue a Sevilla, perdió su silla.

Who went to Sevilla lost his/her chair. Here is a fun phrase that relies on wordplay and rhyme. 

17. Tirar las puertas por las ventanas.

Throw the doors out the windows. This is what you say when you plan to have an absolute blow out party! Think of New Year’s Eve, Cinco de Mayo, or birthdays.

18. Vete a freír papas.

Go fry potatoes. While this saying may seem like an insult, it works as a playful way to tell someone to go to hell without sounding so vulgar.

19. Por si las moscas.

For if the flies. This is more of a nostalgic phrase that means ‘just in case.’ Use it when deciding on whether or not to pack that snack bar or an umbrella. 

20. Calabaza, calabaza, todo el mundo para su casa!

Pumpkin, pumpkin, everyone go home! Our final phrase is a fun way to end the fiesta, or bring the gathering to a close.

READ: 13 Mexican Sayings that Sound Really Weird When They’re Translated Literally

Meet Frederico Vigil, The Creator Of The Largest Concave Fresco in North America – Mundos De Mestizaje

Culture

Meet Frederico Vigil, The Creator Of The Largest Concave Fresco in North America – Mundos De Mestizaje

Courtesy of Ximena N. Larkin

When visiting the National Hispanic Cultural Center campus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, it’s easy to write-off the upside-down, bucket shape form rising from the ground. It stands alone with no distinguishing marks. There are no large crowds to hint at the remarkable secret hidden inside. Visitors will know they are in the right place when the gray asphalt and concrete beneath their feet morph into red—matching the building’s exterior.

Two, towering wood doors mark the entry into the nondescript building.

Credit: Courtesy of Ximena N. Larkin

When the doors swing open, it’s impossible to avoid looking up because the vibrant colors of the ceiling act as a magnet, drawing eyes upwards. Step into the 45-foot dome-shaped structure to get a better look, and there, in the small Southwest town of less than 1 million, the largest fresco painting in North America wraps around the ceiling.

El Torreón is the name of the structure which houses Mundos de Mestizaje.

Credit: Courtesy of Ximena N. Larkin

The larger-than-the-Sistine-Chapel fresco made by Frederico Vigil. It took the Santa Fe native almost three years to have it approved and 10 years to complete it. The aerial artwork depicts thousands of years of Hispanic and pre-Hispanic history. Depending on your cultural background, some iconography is easy to spot and place in history. If you’re Mexican, La Virgen de Guadalupe, a portrait of the beloved civil rights leader Benito Juárez and the eagle, serpent, and nopal from Mexico’s coat of arms will stand out. But walk around the room, or sit in one of the lounging chairs that allow visitors to tip back and view the work at 180 degrees, and soon you’ll realize there are hidden figures among the more popular markers of Mexican and Indigenous identity.

“I’m a mixed man with many different bloodlines,” Vigil says on a phone call. “I’m mestizo. I wanted to show the history of what that means.”

For the project, Vigil consulted with seven scholars on Mesoamerican and Spanish historical culture in order to create an accurate depiction of the past.

Credit: Courtesy of Ximena N. Larkin

He says that just by looking at the Iberian Peninsula, there’s a mix of Romans, Celts, Muslims, and Phoenicians which is all tied into Spanish identity. Then, with the Americas, there’s Maya, Aztec and Toltec. The history of these lines iS not linear. They overlap, intertwine and blend together in a dizzying ride that Vigil worked to bring to life in Mundos de Mestizaje. 

The purpose is to show the viewer how interconnected and far-reaching culture is. Islamic philosopher Ibn Rushd is depicted sitting next to Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, a Medieval Torah scholar, and physician. Chacmool, the pre-Columbian sculpture found throughout Mesoamerica shares space with George Washington and an African slave. 

“There are no purebloods, we are all mixed—or perhaps the only people who can say they are of pure blood are the Amazons or indigenous tribes that have lived in isolation,” Vigil says. “When people begin to study the past, they realize we, as a society, are not genetically one thing.”

Vigil learned the art of fresco painting from Lucienne Bloch and Stephen Pope Dimitroff. The couple might not be household names outside of the art community, but their bosses were. Bloch and Dimitroff were assistants to the world-renowned Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. 

Vigil connected with the couple thanks to the Santa Fe Council for The Arts.

Credit: Courtesy of Ximena N. Larkin

The organization reached out to Vigil to gauge his interest in a scholarship learning from the pair. Now in their 70s, the two aging artists were making strides to ensure their knowledge was passed down to a new generation of creators. Art lessons were accompanied by tales of the past that included Kahlo, Rivera, and friends such as Leon Trotsky. There, he learned the complicated and time-consuming process of fresco painting.

A surface is rough plastered with a mix of lime, sand, and cement. On average, a layer takes 10-12 hours to dry. A painter can go to work an hour into the drying process and usually has between seven to nine hours of time to complete their design. The art then needs 7-10 days between coats. If the painter messes up, they have to scrape off the layers and begin again.

“I’m a procrastinator but when the wall is wet, you have to paint,” says Vigil. “Each painting is a new experience. It doesn’t get old.”

Vigil is currently working on a new 2,500-plus square foot monumental fresco at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

Credit: Courtesy of Ximena N. Larkin

His new work tells the tale of New Mexico’s history as the oldest state in the U.S. to produce wine. He says the piece could take four to six years to complete. He’s currently in his second year.

The hours for the Torreón (where the fresco is housed) are Saturdays and Sundays from 12-5 p.m., plus it is open by appointment, which can be scheduled with Juanita Ramírez at Juanita.ramirez@state.nm.us or 505-383-4774. The NHCC presents concerts in the Torreón in partnership with the Pimentel & Sons Guitar Makers. The Torreón is available for rentals under certain circumstances and with some restrictions. 

READ: 20 Bizarre Nail Art Ideas That I Just Will Never Understand

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