At some point during our formative years, we all heard an old wives’ tale or two, right? Some seemed innocent enough — think “eating bread crust will make your hair turn curly” or “cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis.”
But actually, lots of these old wives’ tales came with some extra baggage that may have done a number on our collective psyche. Sure, they may have seemed harmless when we first heard them, they’ve managed to worm themselves into our thought patterns and maybe even created a few bad habits along the way. But don’t blame abuela, she too was passed down this knowledge before she passed it on to you.
These superstitions get passed down from generation to generation, and often enough they’re so effective they get snap us into total compliance. But few of us know why we’re so fearful or the reason behind them.
Nevertheless, these old wives tales are part of Latino culture.
Vick’s Vapor Rub Will Cure Everything
Sure, you may know it as Vaporub or something totally different depending on where you grew up, but no matter your background, we can agree this menthol pomade has been hailed as a cure all by abuelas everywhere.
Sure the ointment may make us feel better (placebo anyone?) but it actually can be deadly if ingested and is toxic when used improperly.
Having A Baby Daughter Will Steal Your Beauty
This sends several problematic messages. First of all, it implies there is something inherently wrong with having a daughter — which is obviously ridiculous. I swear this sounds like something a man who wanted a strapping young boy to “carry on his good name” started spreading.This old wives’ tale would have you believe beauty is entirely physical or superficial. But beauty is many things: mental, physical, emotional, psychological… none of which can be stripped away by the natural and, it must be said, beautiful act of giving birth to a baby.
You Can’t Make Tamales When You’re Angry
According to this old wives’ tale, if you even attempt to make tamales when you’re enojada…they just won’t turn out right. And nobody’s wants to work so hard on tamales for them to end up flat and flavorless.
Opening An Umbrella Inside Is The Worst Luck
Seriously, this one I believe in so much I freak out at even the thought of it happening by accident. This is another superstition that crosses cultures but leave it to Latinos to add in another layer – if you do this, you won’t get married.
Going Out With Wet Hair When It’s Cold Will Make You Sick
If you grew up in a Latino household, you can bet you’re used to hearing your mom or abuelita scolding you for going outside with wet hair. But this myth has been debunked more times than you’ll eat pozole when you do actually have a cold. Colds and the flu come from viruses (and some bacterias) – plain and simple.
You’ll Never Get Married If A Broom Touches Your Feet
Basically, if you’re single and ready to mingle, don’t go near any brooms. This old wives tale says that if someone is sweeping and they accidentally brush your feet with the broom, you’ll end up single forever.
To Find Love, All You Need Is Four Eggs
To draw someone to you, you need 4 eggs: break two in corners, and one more at the door of the person you want to attract. The last one put inside a white cup and place it under your bed. That’s it. True love.
Cutting Your Hair During A Full Moon Could Mean…?
It’s believed that cutting your hair during a full moon could actually make it grow faster. Is it true? Well, maybe. The long-trusted Farmers Almanac actually lists the best dates to cut your hair based on the lunar calendar…so maybe?
Shaving Your Legs Causes the Hair to Grow Back Darker
Let’s be clear: there’s nothing wrong with not shaving. This old tale would have you believe that having thicker or darker hair anywhere on your body is cause for major concern. The reality is that cutting does not stimulate new hair growth.
Brooms Can Help Determine Your Social Life
Again, with the brooms. This one says that if you put a broom behind the door, your guests will leave sooner. And if a broom falls, it can tell you a lot about your visit depending on the direction it falls. Backward = bad visit. Forward = good visit.
Putting Your Purse On The Floor
“A purse on the floor is money our the door.” This isn’t specific to Latino families, in fact, it’s very common belief across Asia as well. But both cultures share the believe that if you place your purse on the floor, you’ll soon be losing some money.
Itchy Palms And Your Finances
This is another very common wives tale across cultures but Latinos add a unique twist and get very specific. Basically, if your right palm itches you’ll be coming into some coins. Meanwhile, if it’s the left – be prepared to be a little less wealthy since you’ll likely be giving money away.
Heartburn During Pregnancy Can Lead To A Head Full Of Hair
There are soooo many superstitions related to pregnancy but this one is definitely interesting. Woman struggle with all sorts of symptoms during pregnancy including heartburn. So this one stands to reason if you’re dealing with heartburn, your baby will be born with beautiful locks of hair.
If You Drop a Biscuit, It is a Sure Sign Your Husband Will Be Poor
This one is straight up laughable but for some reason is still all to common. I mean let’s dissect this one real quick: not all little girls are going to grow up to marry a man. Nor will every little girl even want to get married. Then there’s the whole issue with thinking that women only value wealth in their potential mate. Yea, this one has got to go.
Our parents never need an excuse to take cheesy and over-the-top photos of us. But, nothing compares to the kind of photos our parents take of us when it comes to Easter. Cue the bunny ears, scattered eggs, and very unnatural poses they come up with to make sure they have the photo to show off to las tías.
Easter is upon us so that means we will be seeing our families set up not oh-so-natural photoshoots.
In a few years this kid’s mom will probably use this photo to embarrass him to his significant other.
They’re always trying to recreate baby photos no matter how old you are.
Just look at his face. Only one person is enjoying this and it’s probably the person behind the camera.
They’re quick to throw their rules about getting your clothes dirty out of the window for the “perfect” shot.
What’s a little grass stain for an Easter photo, right? Heaven forbid you get one while playing in the yard on any other day.
Our parents also don’t care how grumpy you get because this is super important, okay mija.
The poor kid is about to burst a vein he’s so angry. Meanwhile, his mom is probably like, “Awwww this is so cute!”
Then there’s always that one primo that takes things too far and offends the family.
Not cool, dude. But it is kind of hilarious.
Obviously, there are going to be some “topical” photos this year.
Like who thought hey, let me put chocolate eggs in my hair. Why? But great hair.
Did we already mention the super natural poses? It’s good enough to mention twice.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to take a bunch of photos of this little angel? We all know that we can’t wait to do this kind of stuff to our little primos and primas as soon as we are allowed to be together again.
Got a younger sibling? Then you’ll definitely get a matching outfit photo.
I have more than a few. It is literally one of the most annoying points of Easter Sunday.
But, it is truly all worth it when you see mom turn her attention to the cutest member of the family and it all makes sense.
If dressing us up and taking photos makes her half as excited as when we do it to the family pet, then so be it. ❤️