Most people give up sweets, smoking, excessive drinking or social media during Lent. But, because everything Puerto Ricans do is exagerado, my household during Lent got medieval. Between my religious grandmother and my mom, the ‘suffering’ part of Lent was… not symbolic. Here are the nine ways my abuela made us really suffer during Lent.
1. You’re giving up chocolate for 40 days? That’s cute. Once the sun set, our home was enveloped in darkness, because we gave up electricity.
This was especially cruel in a household where El Cuco was real. You know he comes out in the dark!
2. You gave up drinking? Nice. How about no TV, music or dancing? Can’t laugh when you’re supposed to be suffering.
Literally abuela’s response when asked if dancing was allowed during Lent:
Keeping a group of Puerto Rican kids from dancing is like caging a bird. We just want to pop and lock, abuela!
3. Wearing less makeup for Lent is a smart move, but we just went ahead and covered all the mirrors. Examining your beauty was vanity — extremely disrespectful.
“Magic mirror on the wall, who is the holiest of them all?”
4. Most families spend less money during Lent. My family was forced to attend live reenactments of the “Stations of the Cross,” where the real carnage of the story happened for free.
Imagine seeing that when you’re in elementary. It’s a little traumatic.
5. Quitting porn for Lent? It’s easier if you’re in my family, because we were forced to watch films that reenacted the suffering of Jesus.
Mom referred to them as “horror movies,” and I agree — the only thing worse than this scene from “The Da Vinci Code” was Tom Hanks’ mullet in that movie.
6. Introducing more veggies into your diet? Solid choice. Because you couldn’t eat meat at all for Lent at my house.
That’s 40 days of vegetarianism.
7. Giving up coffee? No problem! Ice showers will wake you up when you say goodbye to hot water, like my family did.
After a while, your skin goes numb and you barely feel it!
8. Be more organized? Great idea. When I broke my grandma’s rules, she made us kneel on uncooked rice.
My grandma had el tío Phil on speed-dial.
9. Easter Sunday morning: put on your best duds and celebrate like you didn’t just experience 40 days of light torture. Yay!
Nothing like actively repressing your memories with nice outfits, candy, and an egg hunt.