The Truth About Us

Estefania, Long Reach HS, Class of 2020

Instead of believing the stereotypes found in the media, Estefania shares her beautiful stories and memories of her Mexican culture.

To whoever reads this,

With you I want to share some of the things that make my culture special in a way. I want to share some things about people who have been misunderstood thanks to stereotypes in the media. We are portrayed in various ways, criminals, drug dealers, passionate latin lovers, rapists, and many other ways. What I still have never seen is something on TV that represents my culture correctly other than documentaries. With you, I want to share some things that makes us, us. I want to share the things that we hold dear and the way we do some things in an attempt to clear up misunderstandings. So if you’re willing to listen, take a seat and pay attention to what I'm gonna say.

Let's begin this by telling you of the ideals that raise us and shape the way we become as adults. This thing is our family. Since we are children, we are always told “respect your parents and authority figures”, “always offer help”, “mind your manners”, “do your chores”, “study and get good grades”. They tell us these things among many others. Through teachings like these our parents make sure that we learn to become responsible adults. I also remember that when I was younger my parents would make my sister and I wash dishes. We never wanted to do it because every time we did we would have to get a chair in order to reach the sink. It was a struggle but thanks to that I learned to be responsible and do what I’m told.

Thanks to my parent’s guidance, I hope that one day I can become someone who can aid society.

Since I shared how we are raised, how about I tell you how we like to celebrate things. In Mexico, there are many holidays I could pick, like Cinco De Mayo and Independence Day, but you can just find all the information online if you google it. So how about I tell you about what I consider to be the two best holidays. Let's start with El Dia De Los Muertos. To many this holiday is extremely important. It is the one time when you can remember someone who has passed away. It all starts on October 31st. On this day the entire family places an altar dedicated to the deceased relatives somewhere in the house. It's a tradition that you place images and whatever things the person enjoyed to do while they were alive, along with an image of the person. The next two days is when the celebration actually takes place. As soon as you get to the cemetery, the first thing you see is a sea of flowers wherever you look. The sea of flowers is also accompanied by music and food. This is all brought for the souls of those who have passed away. Through celebrations like these, we honor family members and friends who passed away. In a way it serves as a reminder that although they’re gone they will never be forgotten.

The second holiday I will also tell you about is Christmas. You’re probably thinking “Oh great tell me something I don’t know”, but I’m here to tell you, you’re wrong. There is something you don’t know. In Mexico, Christmas gets more complicated. It's not only celebrated on a bigger scale than it is here, but we also have other traditions to go along with it. For example, in Mexico, Santa is not regarded as an important Christmas icon - and giving gifts doesn’t occur. For that we have “Los reyes magos”. Now the entire celebration starts a week before Christmas Day. During this time we have posadas. This consists of having the entire town gather and then going up to each other's houses to sing songs and just have a fun time in general. At the last house is where things change. There the owner gives out atole, hot chocolate, coffee or ponche. To accompany this, sweet bread is also given.

However all this partying has been nothing but a warm up.

When Christmas comes is when the kids gather around to break piñatas and enjoy as much candy as they can eat. After this is over, every family goes to their houses to continue the celebration on their own. Loud music, lots of food and drinking are signature ways to celebrate. It continues until everyone can no longer continue and has to finally go to bed. In the end it's a long and tiring week, but I wouldn’t choose to celebrate it any other way.

To you, the one I told these short memories to, this is the end but I hope that if you listened I was able to teach you something new about my people. Through this I hope that you can obtain a better understanding of us, and not just let yourself be guided by the things you see on TV or hear in the news. I hope that you understand that we are fun-loving people who like to celebrate many things, so if one day you happen to hear loud cumbia or banda playing somewhere, ask to join - because maybe just maybe you might learn something new.

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