Culture

Make 2020 Your Year With These 5 Steps To Succeed At Your Resolutions

For us humans who like to count days and calendar years, a huge celebration is upon us. We’re leaving an entire decade behind us as we step into the 2020s–finally a decade that we can all phonetically reference without any awkwardness. More than that, the mark of a new year has always been a time to physically and metaphorically declutter from our lives what is no longer serving us. New Year’s resolutions are powerful ways to set intentions for ourselves and build self-trust by following through on them. We’re not invoking any of this privileged white folk ‘manifestation’ energy. We’re doing what our padres taught us to do: work for what we want, si Dios lo permite. As the exhaustion of a semester, work season, year and decade come to a close, we get the opportunity to rest and recharge and start all over again.

Here’s the thing. Once we get back to school, work and real life, that kinetic energy will start to slow down, and your resolution isn’t just going to manifest out of thin air. As a Capricorn, let me tell you how to be realistic when you decide what your resolution is going to be and how to follow through.

1. Be Selfish

CREDIT: MEME /MEME.XYZ

Ask yourself: how is this going to benefit me in the long-term? New Year’s energy is some serious joojoo that you won’t want to waste on what somebody else wants for you. It’s time to think big picture and get selfish. Where do you want to be in 10 years? What’s the first step to get you there? Resolutions take up space in your thought life and living life. Is this one worth it? Does it excite you? It’s far easier to follow through on a resolution when you really want it for yourself and isn’t just an effort to fit in or cave to societal pressure. 

2. Tell Your Mother

CREDIT: ONE DAY AT A TIME / NETFLIX

There’s nothing a Latina mom loves to do more than check up on you. Other sources will tell you to create accountability or “form a pact” with someone else. Not us. We know as well as anyone and their (Latina) mother that your mami will ask you about your resolution every time you talk. It’s a powerful weapon that you may want to seriously consider before deploying. Just how committed you are to this resolution? Because you can’t back out once you tell your mami. She just wants what’s best for you, mija.

3. Don’t Do a Fad Diet

Credit: herbalife / Instagram

Disordered eating may feel like a family heirloom, passed down from one mami to the next, but this is the generation when it stops and we start loving our curvy bodies. No matter how often your tía or abuelita flip flop between calling you gordita or flaquita, take resolve in yourself knowing that they’re both compliments. Studies prove that fad diets don’t work to maintain a healthy weight, but rather offers major fluctuations in weight.

Instead of adopting a mindset of scarcity and focus on reducing certain foods, consider adopting a mindset of moderation and balance. Choose to eat more healthy plant-based food, more aguacate instead of butter, or choose to work out just one more time a week than you already do. Exercising and eating well have their scientifically-backed benefits, like better physical health, sleep, and mental health. Focus on eating more good foods instead of feeling terrible when you eventually cave and have your abuela’s flan. Better yet, vow to eat more flan in 2020, mi gente!

4. Light a Vela to Saint Anthony, the Patron Saint of Lost Causes

CREDIT: @CBROCIOUS / TWITTER

Our moms may love to light candles to Saint Anthony to beg the stoic statue to find us novios or novias, not realizing that by doing so, they’re telling us they think we’re a lost cause, but it works, okay. In moments of doubt or despair, take up the worthy tradition of our most recent ancestors and light a candle to Saint Anthony. Whatever resolve you’ve lost, he’ll be able to help you find it.

5. Take a Mental Snapshot of the Moment You’re Working Toward

CREDIT: @JLO / INSTAGRAM

When we see people like Jennifer Lopez or Justice Sonia Sotomayor, it’s easy to want what they have, but hard to imagine them putting in the work to get there. Whether you decide to volunteer more to boost your self-esteem and find a community or decide to go back to school to get that bachelor’s or law or doctoral degree, there will be sacrifices. Prepare for it. Understand deep down that it won’t always be fun so that when you have to cancel social plans or drag yourself out the door when all you want to do is watch Netflix, you remember: I signed up for this. Picture yourself in the cap and gown or at the top of that peak, or just picture J.Lo. Either will do.

READ: Reddit Users Are Sharing Their Craziest New Year’s Eve Stories And I Can’t Believe Some Of Them Didn’t Make The News

This Indigenous Group From Michoacán Is Getting Ready To Celebrate A Pre-Hispanic New Year: The ‘New Fire’

Culture

This Indigenous Group From Michoacán Is Getting Ready To Celebrate A Pre-Hispanic New Year: The ‘New Fire’

Purépechaoficial / Instagram

With all the Chinese New Year celebrations we saw this week, we wanted to highlight another Spring New Year party. Based on a very different calendar and with very different traditions; the Purépecha people of Mexico are also celebrating a New Year’s celebration soon. And their traditions hail from a distant past.

Each year, the Purépechas light a fire to celebrate the new year, according to the ancient mesoamerican calendar.

Every year, since 1983, the Purépechas of Michoacán celebrate the new year on the nights of the 1st and the 2nd of February. The lighting ceremony of the New Fire, goes back to the pre-Hispanic period.

The Purépechas are descendants of a pre-columbian empire.

Purépechas today, are concentrated in the northwestern part of the state of Michoacán in Mexico. Their calendar is similar to the Mesoamerican calendar —a system that emerged with the Olmecs, and was passed down to Mayans, Zapotecs and Aztecs.

The most widely known version of the calendar is the Aztec version.

The ‘piedra del sol’ is one of the most photographed pieces in the Museum of Anthropology of Mexico City. The use of this calendar was halted in 1521, when the Christian calendar and rituals were implemented by the Spanish.

Like its variants, the Purépecha calendar also consisted of 18 months.

Each month was made up by 20 days, for a total of 360 days in a year. To keep the calendar in alignments with the cycle of the sun, Purépechas would add 5 days periodically —and since they didn’t align with any month, those days were considered ominous.

In 1983, a group of Purépecha intellectuals and community activists reintroduced the use of the old calendar by celebrating its new year.

This date is marked by the night when the constellation of Orion reaches its highest point in the sky. In the past, this meant it was time to make offerings to Kurhíkuaeri, the god of the Sun and of fire. It usually happens on the night of February 1-2.

The Purépecha new year is now celebrated with what is called the New Fire ceremony.

The New Fire ceremony is a Mesoamerican ritual, but originally it was performed once every 52 years, corresponding to the cycle of Pleiades; it was also the day when the civil and ritual calendars coincided.

Today, the New Fire ceremony has been repurposed so that the celebration of the new year can move from town to town in the territory once defined by the Purépecha Empire.

The ritual is carried out in a different town each year. The new village receives the Old Fire from the community that guarded it during the previous year, and lights the New Fire that remains under its protection until it is delivered to the next guardian.

The first time this festivity took place after being reinstated, it was held in Tzintzuntzan.

Since then it has been taking place every year, being an important element for the strengthening and cohesion of the Purépecha people.

The purpose of the festivity, is to keep traditions alive and to rescue cultural elements of the past.

“Even though the New Fire ceremony is the most representative aspect of this indigenous people, it is one of reflection rather than religious or political in nature,” says Patricia Terán Escobar, a researcher at the National Institute for Anthropology and History (INAH). “Some of the objectives are to rescue the collective memory and all the cultural elements of the past, such as the ancient Purépecha tradition of verbally transmitting knowledge from one generation to the next.”

The Purépecha council, Consejo de Cargueros del Fuego Nuevo Purépecha, approved the request for this year’s host.

This year’s Fuego Nuevo celebration was disputed between the villages of Ario de Rosales, Zacapu, Comanja, Erongarícuaro and Capacuaro. The latter was the winner and will be the bearer of the new fire for 2020. The village of Capacuaro was chosen to honor its over 500 years of history.

Capacuaro is one of the most ancient Purépecha communities.

“It was a necessary stop for tradespeople and travelers who were making the journey between Paracho and Uruapan —a trek that took travelers through the mountains, across the ‘sierra P’urhépecha’, a road that Don Vasco de Quiroga, a famous evangelist, often trekked.

This year, the New Fire —aka. New Year ceremony— will take place on February 1 in Capácuaro, which will receive the Old Fire from Cuanajo. Capácuaro is located north of the city of Uruapan, near Paracho.

Does Anybody Really Know What’s Supposed To Happen After You Get The Baby Jesus Figurine In La Rosca De Reyes?

Culture

Does Anybody Really Know What’s Supposed To Happen After You Get The Baby Jesus Figurine In La Rosca De Reyes?

alejandro.munoz.p / Instagram

Remember Día de Reyes when everyone cuts the rosca and hopes to god not to get the little niño Jesus? If you grew up Mexican, you probably know that whoever gets the baby Jesus figurine owes everyone tamales. But when is the tamal party? And most importantly—why? Keep reading to find out what El Día de la Candelaria means, what your abuelitas and tías are actually celebrating and how it originated —spoiler alert: it’s colonization.

February 2nd may be Groundhog Day in the United States, but in Mexico, and for many Latinos outside of Mexico, there is a completely different celebration on this date.

The religious holiday is known as Día de la Candelaria (or Candlemas in English). And on this day of the year, people get together with family and friends to eat tamales, as a continuation of the festivities of Three Kings’ Day on January 6. 

This is why your abuelita dresses up her niño Jesús in extravagant outfits.

For Día de la Candelaria it’s customary for celebrants to dress up figures of the Christ Child in special outfits and take them to the church to be blessed. Día de la Candelaria is traditionally a religious and family celebration, but in some places, such as Tlacotalpan, in the state of Veracruz, it is a major fiesta with fairs and parades.

February 2nd is exactly forty days after Christmas and is celebrated by the Catholic church as the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin.

Alternatively, this day also counts as the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. The origin of this religious feast day comes from ancient Jewish tradition. According to Jewish law, a woman was considered unclean for 40 days after giving birth, and it was customary to bring a baby to the temple after that period of time had passed. So the idea is that Mary and Joseph would have taken Jesus to the temple to be blessed on February second, forty days after his birth on December 25.

The tradition goes back to around the 11th Century in Europe.

People typically took candles to the church to be blessed as part of the celebration. This tradition was based on the biblical passage of Luke 2:22-39 which recounts how when Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple, a particularly devout man named Simeon embraced the child and prayed the Canticle of Simeon: “Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace; Because my eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” The reference to the light inspired the celebration of the blessing of the candles.

In Mexico Día de la Candelaria is a follow-up to the festivities of Three Kings Day on January 6th.

On Día De Reyes, when children receive gifts, families and friends gather together to eat Rosca de Reyes, a special sweet bread with figurines of a baby (representing the Child Jesus) hidden inside. The person (or people) who received the figurines on Three Kings Day are supposed to host the party on Candlemas Day. Tamales are the food of choice.

This tradition also carries Pre-Hispanic roots.

After the Spanish conquistadors introduced the Catholic religion and masked indigenous traditions with their own, to help spread evangelization, many villagers picked up the tradition of taking their corn to the church in order to get their crops blessed after planting their seeds for the new agricultural cycle that was starting. They did this on February 2, which was the eleventh day of the first month on the Aztec calendar —which coincidentally fell on the same day as the Candelaria celebration. It’s believed that this is why, to this day, the celebratory feast on February 2 is all corn-based —atole and tamales.

This date is special for other reasons too… 

February 2, marks the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, which aligns with the pagan holiday of Imbolc. Since ancient times, this date was thought to be a marker or predictor of the weather to come, which is why it is also celebrated as Groundhog Day in the United States. There was an old English saying that went “if Candlemas be fair and bright, Winter has another flight. If Candlemas brings clouds and rain, Winter will not come again.” In many places, this is traditionally seen as the best time to prepare the earth for spring planting.

In Perú the Fiesta de la Candelaria is a festival in honor of the Virgin of Candelaria, patron saint of the city of Puno and it is one of the biggest festivals of culture, music, and dancing in the country.

The huge festival brings together the Catholic faith and Andean religion in homage to the Virgin of Candelaria. The Virgin represents fertility and purity. She is the patron saint of the city and is strongly associated with the Andean deity of ‘Pachamama’ (‘mother earth’). It is this common factor of both religions that brings them together for the festival. In 2014, UNESCO declared the festival an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The main dates of ‘Fiesta de la Candelaria’ are February 2nd – 12th.