College Talk: Financial Burden

Every typical family, no matter the demographic, has financial concerns to think about, such as bills, mortgages, and weekly expenses, just to name a few. However, when we do take families’ backgrounds into account, a different perspective on the possible financial grind of American life is revealed. Latino households are still feeling the effects of the recession that hit the nation starting in 2008, which was a nation-wide lag in economic activity. While there are many American families who can say they have recovered from the hard times the recession imposed, there are a number of Latino families who are having to make financial decision with the weight of the recession still on their shoulders.

So for the Latino families still feeling the recession, what expenses will have to be put on the back-burner? Well, the answer to this may be different for each household depending on the family’s needs. However, one particular expense to highlight at present would be the cost of higher education. Teens in high school are typically encouraged by counselors and administrators to consider college. It is not unusual for parents to want their children to lead lives more successful than their own, which, for many Latino teens, especially first-generation U.S. citizens, this would mean attending college and perhaps earning multiple degrees.

Although Latino parents would likely want their teen to be looking into higher education, there is still the issue that this might be a financial burden on the family. It is common in a family for the parents to want to protect their children from the world of “grown-up concerns,” one of which is money. However, teens are old enough to know that they are not guaranteed a place in an American college or university without work, motivation, and money, so what is the conversation about the prospect of college like between Latina teens and their parents, if there even is one?

For El Paso teens Camila Mosier, 15, and Melissa Acosta, 13, conversations about college have definitely been held at length before. Both girls’ parents have expressed that they want them to attend college although they understand it might be a financial strain. That is why they have also encouraged the girls to stay focused and work hard throughout their high school years, allowing them a better chance of earning scholarships. Although she is only a first-year in high school and won’t be making serious choices about college for a few years, Melissa Acosta has shown that there are ways in which she as a dedicated student can make sure she has a better chance of attending college.

“I decided to attend Valle Verde High School. It’s an early-college school, and I am planning to study psychology…I hope that with great effort and work I can be valedictorian,” says Melissa.

Because she is attending an early-college high school, Melissa will be able to graduate with her associate’s degree and will have the opportunity to graduate from a Texas college or university in fewer years than most.

“My parents have started a fund but these days that’s obviously not enough,” says Camila, who has the understanding that what she pursues now will influence her college applications.

Camila plays the cello and acts, and although she doesn’t know what she wants to study yet, she knows that she can continue to grow in her skills as a cellist and actress and use these skills to her advantage.

Latina Artist Spotlights

“Latino Art is often not integrated into the narrative of American Art” –Minimalistic artist, Jessie Amado

The world of art is known for its very different, and sometimes weird and beautiful, perspectives of artists. We present different contemporary voices from prestigious galleries, such as: “Y Qué?”, “Young Latinos Artists” and so much more.

Nanibah Chacon
A Navajo and Chicana artist, Chacon is prominent muralist. We all have done some garabato on our notebooks at school, but Chacon made it into a career! She began doing graffiti as a protest for feminist’s rights, and then began doing acrylic paintings.  She is recognized as an artist whose paintings try to place women in the contemporary era.  Recently, she revealed Apart Together  at “Y Qué?” Exhibition in Austin, TX.

Olga Albizu
We go down hasta Puerto Rico with the amazing Olga Albizu. Her paintings have vivid colors and geometrical figures, which are mesmerizing and can instantly catch a viewer’s attention. Chica, if anyone knows how to master the abstract, it is  Albizu. She has studied with German painters and has sold her paintings to museums in Paris.

Natalia Anciso
Natalia Anciso, she is one of the known artists who emphasizes borders. Her paintings are recognized for sharing a story with her viewers about the life near border of US-Mexico; one of the paintings that describe this type of life is Pinches Rinches. She uses the word “Rinches” to form a reference for the Texas Ranches illustrating the sad and discouraging behavior these people make on the lives of millions of migrants along the US-Mexican border zone. So chica, if you want to know more about life near the edges, you should look at Anciso’s artworks.

Judithe Hernandez
Hernandez has made massive works in galleries, such as The Juarez Series, The Adam and Eve Series and Expo Line Station Santa Monica. Her paintings emphasize surrealism in its higher presentation. She specializes in pastel paintings, and has made a great contribution to the western aesthetic tradition.

Suzy Gonzalez
Gonzalez, the girl from Texas, showcases feminism in her zines and paintings. A couple of her exhibitions include Feminized, Converge, and Art as Activism and Craft of Time: Essential for Craft Labor. Her paintings portray the feminism side of the contemporary youth.

Myrna Baez
This Puerto Rican descendent is actually one of the few that portrays Latino America and Puerto Rico in her paintings. Although her portraits is her preference, her painting is heavily influenced by her daily life and activities.  She is a great example of how embracing yourself as a women and as a Latina in a self-portrait is both moving and a form of creative expression. We should follow her example, chicas!

Literature Picks for Spring Break

For book lovers, it might seem that there are endless lists of books to read, but we’ve stumbled across a couple of selections that you might pick up during your Spring Break vacation.

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
This historical book is about the famous Mirabal sisters who lived in the Dominican Republic and defied the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. The story follows the lives of the sisters from young girls to marriage, womanhood, motherhood, and to their incarceration. This is a must-read as it recounts a heartbreaking story of Latina woman who fought for freedom in their country during a time when women were expected to be obedient, let alone not meddle in politics. The work of Alvarez makes the reader feel the oppression and fear that Dominicans felt during Trujillo’s regime, while trying to live their lives as normally as possible. This book has been adapted to movie starring Salma Hayek.

The Selection by Kiera Cass
While the story might not center around the Latino community, this author is Puerto Rican who has found immense popularity in the literature realm. The Selection is the first part out of a 4-book saga; it follows the main protagonist, America Singer, who has been forced to enter competition called the Selection in order to compete against 34 girls to win the heart of the future king of Illéa. Unlike the other girls, America finds that being selection is a nightmare as she didn’t want to leave her home and her previous Love to live in a mansion where chaos and violence are constant companion. This book meets The Bachelor and the Hunger Games. The Selection is a must-read as it is important to support Latina authors in the book world where it is difficult to find books that have Latino protagonists or even written by Latinos.

Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older
Shadowshaper is the story with an Afro-Latina protagonist. This book is for those who are looking for a young adult fiction book that has magic and fantasy elements. Sierra Santiago is a young artist living in Brooklyn when at a party a zombielike creature crashes her world. Through this conundrum, Sierra discovers that her world around her consists of magic and that it exists in her ancestry.  Older’s book is a refreshing take on the female protagonist as she is not only strong but has a positive mentality of her body, which will pass onto the reader. There is romance incorporated into this book but it is not the main focus nor the goal for the protagonist.

Career Spotlight: Project Manager for IBM

IMG_3957Name: Karen Mariela Siles

Hometown: Born and raised in Cochabamba, Bolivia; moved to the US, Northern Virginia area when I was 15 however due to a full time offer I moved to Austin, TX after college graduation.

Employer : IBM Corporation in Austin, TX

Job Title: Project Manager for IBM Cloud Organization

What are some of your job responsibilities?
The goal of a project manager is essentially take a project from beginning to end, making sure that all the components that are needed are facilitated in order to get to our deadline. In my case, I work with software developers and ensure that we are reaching deadlines for our project to deliver cutting edge technology for IBM Cloud.

What is your educational background?
In May, 2007, I got my Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from George Mason University in Fairfax,VA.

How did you find your current job?
I have been with IBM for eight years; this is my fourth career path that I have taken. My first job with IBM was due to an organization called Society of Hispanic Professional Engineer (SHPE). Through SHPE ,I was able to attend their National Conference that offers professional development, networking, and a career fair. Through these conferences IBM was able to recruit me and I was offered a full time position with IBM in Austin, TX

What did you do to prepare for this career?
I graduated as an Electrical Engineering in college but my first choice of major was Computer Science. I took a lot of programming courses so I got my first internship as a Computer Programmer during my Junior year of college. As a senior I had to opportunity to stay with CACI as a computer programmer, but I decided to take the IBM offer in Texas. My first job with IBM was a Software Engineer helping people with their middleware and making sure that I helped customers solve their problems.

What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my current job is when my team reaches their deadline and we have a developed product. The best part is always when you see that you have completed your project and you can see the affects of your work.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
I always find it challenging when developers need help but are not able to find the righ resources to get the help they need. As a Project Manager, I need to ensure that they have all the  capabilities in getting the right aid, but sometimes you depend on other teams to deliver their part before you can start yours.

What advice would you give to help a girl prepare for a job like yours?
In my opinion, everyone should study a career in STEM. The thinking and the tools that STEM classes give you are very hard to get if you are pursuing a non technical career. As a Software Engineer,  I wish I would have taken more engineering and computer science courses in high school. Some teachers at the university cannot spend a lot of time with you as a high school teacher can, so I wish I would have learned more basic science, engineer, math and computer science in High School. My advice would be to take STEM classes throughout high school; it will give you a strong basis for whatever you decide to do in the future.

What do you do for fun when you aren’t working?
Most of my career advancement was through my networks and meeting people who wanted to mentor me. Therefore, most of my free time is given towards community service organizations like Latinitas where we can empower young people, or mentor them to become amazing individuals. Giving back is the best part of my day and I like to spend a lot of time volunteering. However, if I am not volunteering, I enjoy spending time with my dog, Kasper. Currently, I am training for a half marathon, which has caused  me to enjoy running in my spare time. I did my first half marathon with the Disneyworld, Princess Half Marathon.  I am very excited for my first half marathon, but I doubt it will be my last.

Dealing with Family Problems

Hispanic girk looking sadFamilies are those whom we can rely on for support, for love and those whom we have a special bond with, but we don’t always choose to embrace our feelings towards one another.

According to Psychology Today, it is common to have family problems, especially when living with several teenagers at home with their parents. Some of these issues include alcoholism, abuse, feelings of guilt, depression, financial, and anger towards family members.

The Better Health Channel shares three tips on how to overcome these common problems that can be sometimes be too hard to deal with.

1. Communication
Even though it is a cliché when someone says “Communication is key,”  it is true. “A lot of the times, unwanted problems arise because we don’t talk to each other enough. If we could communicate more with one another, we wouldn’t have to deal with the extra stress of unnecessary problems,” says Bianca, 24. Talking might sometimes be difficult, especially when it is something that is bothering you, but even a small amount of communication goes a long way. Keep in mind that the idea is to resolve the conflict, not win the argument.

2. Listen
Try to stay calm by putting your emotions aside and don’t interrupt the other person while they are speaking. Sometimes we are too stubborn to realize that we are letting our pride get in the way of fixing our problems. Understanding what they are saying by asking questions through an open and honest discussion will be beneficial in the long run.

3. Seek Help
If it is a more serious problem where communication is not possible, seek professional help. “When I was going through some intense family problems, I didn’t know what to do. I decided to go to my school counselor and talk about it, it took a lot for me to go, but I couldn’t deal with it alone. And now I can talk to my family about it and things are slowly getting better,” says Mary, 19.

Whether it’s talking with your family or with a counselor, you are not alone. You don’t have to deal with your family problems by yourself. Millions of people are dealing with the same things you are. Communication is key, listen to your heart, and seek for what you need.

“My family and I don’t have a good communication environment. My parents are old school and they think their way is the right way. And there’s no way of  telling them otherwise. I was so fed up and tired with everything that I decided to take it into my own hands. I made my parents listen to me. I made them see how much stress and pain they were putting me through. And that was the smartest thing I could’ve done,” says 22 year-old Clarissa.

Even when you think it’s inevitable, something can be done about it. You just have to speak up, let your voice be heard. Clarissa adds, “I have never been this happy with my life, taking a stand for myself  was the scariest and the best thing I’ve done in my life.”

Teen’s Guide for Finding a Job

Money2Recently, my family and I went on a very cool family vacation in South America; every day was filled with fun-in-the-sun, hanging out with cousins, and no worries, whatsoever. When you’re a kid at 15, you don’t want to be worrying about anything but what fun thing you’re going to do that day. However, upon returning to the United States, I was immediately hit with the realization that all my friends were getting jobs.  I was VERY surprised that so many of my friends were already taking on this huge responsibility! Not wanting to fall behind, I immediately searched: “What do I need to know about getting a job as a 16-year-old?” Well, I found a lot of great info for chicas like myself wanting to get a job, but not knowing where to start.

Getting Started:

Find the basic information like hiring practices and salary. Most places that hire teens will start doing so at 16 years old, however, most states restrict what kind of jobs teens can do, and how many hours we can work. If you’re 14 or 15, for example, you can work a maximum of 8 hours on a school day, and 16 hours a week during the school year.

It is always good to know that there is a minimum on how much you are required to be paid, and each state has its minimum, which you can check at this link: http://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm For a reference, the United States Federal minimum wage is $7.25.

Finding the Right Fit:

While not all places will hire teens, some great places to start looking for a job if you’re a teen include fast food and restaurants, or retail shops.  If you love little kids, why not be a baby-sitter? While it is not necessary if you’re working for your close grown-up friends, getting a baby-sitting certification class is always a good idea so you can show other adults you have experience once your customers start to grow. If you need help thinking of other jobs, some likely ones are as library assistants if you love books, as a lifeguard at your local pool, or maybe a job at your favorite arcade or amusement park, or as a sport coaching-assistant.  If you’re good with computers, you could work at your local technology appliances stores, like Best Buy– depending on your technical skills you could easily be earning $15 an hour!

Building your Work Experience:

If you’re working for a store, or other business, don’t expect to get your ideal job position right when you start if you have no previous job experience. In most cases, you will be getting paid minimum wage and working cleaning, delivering, and filing jobs before you can move to handling money or becoming a restaurant server. Don’t be discouraged, it takes time but you WILL get there.

However, because of the mentioned above, I advise you to start your OWN business, be your own boss! If you have a lawn mower at home, you could easily start a business and be getting a bigger portion of the pay! Start by asking around your neighborhood or around a close neighborhood that has bigger lawns. If that’s not for you, simply think of a hobby that you have, and see how you can use it to your advantage, be creative! If you like art or crafts, consider making your crafts to sell at a local market or fair. Use any of your skills to help get the job done for other people, in the end, you have more control on what job you will be doing and you will definitely be making more money for your work.

All you need is to make sure you have thought of a plan on how you’re going to run your business, and stay committed. Soon, the money will start rolling in!

Latina Spotlight: Marlett García (MSW)

Originally from Presidio, Texas, Marlett García is a Victim Specialist at the Paso del Norte Center of Hope

(a program under the Center for Children).

What are some of your job responsibilities?
To provide extensive case management services to victims of human trafficking to include crisis-intervention, immediate and long-term assistance, and referral support. To collaborate with law enforcement and social services agencies to provide ongoing emotional and social services to victims while working through the victimization.

Other responsibilities include: assisting victims with the completion of documentation and applications as a means to obtain federal, state, and/or local assistance. Also, to conduct trainings and presentations to agencies, community organizations, law enforcement, and medical personnel on human trafficking in order to increase knowledge and awareness on the subject.

What is your educational background?  I obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas in 2011. Four years later, I obtained a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Describe your college experience and how it helped you prepare for your career: Attending college was one of the best decisions of my life. It was truly a wonderful experience! College provided me with the necessary skills to become a constructive, adaptive, and innovative professional. My professors and courses enabled me to learn new skills and improve old ones by creating a constructive and stimulating environment which was conducive to my professional and personal growth.  Learning about practices and services that assist individuals and groups prepared and equipped me with the skills necessary to work with male and female victims to include youth, LGBTQI community, and juvenile detainees who fall victim to human trafficking. The ability to provide adequate services to each client can be attributed to the education received while in college.

How did you find your current job?  In 2014, I began my final year in Graduate School at the University of Texas at El Paso. To meet the requirements set by the Master of Social Work (MSW) program, I became a second year intern for the Paso del Norte Center of Hope. As an intern, I was task with the duty to research trends, data and statistics, and evidence-based practices in order to understand the complexity of human trafficking and to improve the community’s awareness and knowledge on the subject. The position as an intern provided insightful information on the agency and its mission to serve victims of human trafficking. Immediately, right after graduation, I applied for the position of Victim Specialist for the Paso del Norte Center of Hope.

What did you do to prepare for this career? I spent countless hours researching human trafficking. To learn about its trends, indicators, challenges, gaps, and implications I spent many hours reading articles and books on the subject. I also watched numerous documentaries and movies that depicted true encounters experienced by victims of labor and/or sex trafficking.  Most importantly, I asked lots of questions. While serving as an intern, I shadowed my supervisor and mentor, Mrs. Virginia McCrimmon. Through her supervision I was provided with the opportunity to ask questions and learn about real cases and experiences from victims of trafficking. Immersing myself in the work, I learned essential information which became beneficial during the process of obtaining this position. Serving as an intern and familiarizing myself with the work and the topic prepared me for this career.

What do you like most about your job?  My favorite part of my job is having the opportunity to help individuals who are resilient, driven, and strong-willed despite their victimization and trauma.  For me, experiencing the moments when a client obtains his/her documentation or when he/she feels empowered to disclose information about the victimization is truly significant and powerful. Moments such as those make my job so rewarding.

What is the most challenging part of your job? Most challenging part of the job is the limitation to provide services to potential clients who do not self-identify as victims. Also, the trauma and experiences endured by victims of human trafficking can create a significant restraint on services as victims are not likely to collaborate with law enforcement unless positive rapport has been established.

What advice would you give to help a girl prepare for a job like yours? Never be afraid to ask questions. To learn and become comfortable with your position, you must never be afraid to question your role and that of your agency. Give yourself the opportunity to learn new skills as well as improve new ones. Take time to assess your strengths and implement them in your work setting. By acknowledging your strengths and skills you will become a more effective and innovative professional.

What do you do for fun when you aren’t working? I like to dance, cook, and paint on my days off. I also enjoy volunteering for different organizations around the community. Keeping myself engaged in healthy activities is vital for my well-being as it provides balance and stability.

 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star_Wars_The_Force_Awakens-1As of January 2016, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the fourth highest-grossing film at the worldwide box office; raking in $1.54 billion and is projected to overtake “Avatar” at $2.89 billion, “Titanic” at $2.19 billion and “Jurassic World” at $1.67 billion. The big-screen often lacks diversity and representation of women, but Star Wars: The Force Awakens enhances both the strength of women and representation of minorities.

Guatemalan-American actor Oscar Isaac and British-Nigerian actor John Boyega as Finn have received wide acclaim for their roles in the film. Isaac received recognition for his role in the 2013 black comedy-drama Inside Llewyn Davis.  Isaac is often noted as part of the next generation of great actors, garnering comparisons to Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, and Jon Voight. Isaac’s rise to fame and increasing importance in Hollywood is a step towards equal representation of people of color in film, since he subverserses Hollywood’s expectations for Latino actors by avoiding being typecast.

“The people that cast films and TV shows, hopefully they will able to see past their limited ideas of what ethnicity is,” Isaac said in a backstage interview after his Golden Globe win. “There’s not a lot of us and it’s difficult for people that look not like the status quo in this country to get great roles, and it’s happening a little bit more and I feel humbled and honored and blessed to have the opportunity to do that.”

Although not a Latina, actress Daisy Ridley deserves recognition for her role as Rey. Ridley provides much needed female recognition in big budget blockbuster action films. Unlike other females in actions films, Rey is not meant to be a supporting character to a male lead, but rather she is her own character: steadfast, strong, resilient, self-sufficient, and smart. While her character could use further development, it is important to note that this is only the beginning of Rey’s journey, the audience expects to see her character grow and mature as the trilogy goes on.

Nonetheless, it is Nigerian-Mexican Lupita Nyong’o who also deserves recognition in her role of Maz Kanata. Nyong’o lends her voice to the thousand-year-old sage pirate that has a mysterious connection with the force and helps our heroine, Rey, through her journey.

Nyong’o was born in Mexico City to Nigerian parents. Although raised in Kenya, Nyong’o spent time living in Guerrero and studied at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico at the Learning Center for Foreigners. Nyong’o lays claim to her Latinidad through her Mexican nationality and brings much needed recognition to the 1.38 million Afro-Mexicans who were just officially recognized by the Mexican government this past December.

Nyong’o’s breakthrough performance was in 2013 in the critically acclaimed historical drama Twelve Years a Slave. Her role as Patsey earned her an academy award for best supporting actress; she is the first Kenyan and the first Mexican actress to receive an academy award.

“I’ve seen the quarrels over my nationality, but I’m Kenyan and Mexican at the same time,” Nyong’o said in an interview with El Mañana. Furthermore, Nyong’o talks about the difficulty and racism she faced while living in Mexico. People are quick to disregard Nyong’o’s Latinidad by claiming that just because she was born in Mexico City that does not mean she can be considered Latina. It is time for Nyong’o’s complex and hybrid Latina identity to be embraced by Latinos just as Latinos should embrace the large community of Afro-Latinos who have been subjugated, underrepresented, and oppressed for too long.

Whether you are a die-hard Star Wars fan or not, seeing strong female characters (who can forget Leia) and the inclusion of minorities in the big-screen is noteworthy.

Getting Involved in Sports

People turn to sports as kids, teens, and young adults for a number of reasons. For many, playing a sport is an extracurricular outlet that allows them to exercise their skills in teamwork and physical activity.

Evelyn currently runs track and cross-country at Americas High School in El Paso, Texas. “People don’t appreciate girls in sports, specifically Latina women…so I think it [is] better to have more diversity,” states Evelyn Gomez , 16.  Although Evelyn makes a very good point by acknowledging that female athletes are not shown the same appreciation as the men in the world of athletics, she also recognizes that girls and women continue to excel in their respective sports, regardless, and achieve their goals.

“I admire the [girls] in my high school that get scholarships for the sports I play.” Seeing that her fellow teammates can accomplish so much is very motivating to Evelyn.

19-year-old college sophomore Zaira Lujan also ran track and cross-country throughout her years at Coronado High School in El Paso, Texas. When she started at the University of Rochester in the Fall of 2014, Zaira had intend to run track again, but plans changed and she did not join the team. Instead, come second semester, Zaira found herself playing a different sport altogether, one she’d never imagined she would play.

“I went to the [rugby] practices and loved the vibe the team had. They were open and accepting…I’m glad that I gave it a chance,” said Zaira.

Having played multiple sports, both Evelyn and Zaira know a thing or two about dedication and teamwork. These are the values that make each team member strong in mind and body. “In my competitions, I didn’t run against other girls, per say, but I ran against  myself. I don’t know about the abilities of the other runners, but I know mine and that’s all I need to concentrate on…” says Zaira, as she reflects on her years as a runner. Zaira believes that through self-motivation as well as encouragement by her coaches and teammates, she has become a better athlete.

Evelyn also acknowledges the positive impact that playing a sport has had on her life: “Participating in a sport provides structure and discipline…It helps you be prompt, ready, [and able to] overcome challenges.” These are qualities that both athletes have been able to apply when they are participating in their respective sports, but they have also positively affected their approaches to academics and other responsibilities.

Not only are women athletes underappreciated, as Evelyn suggests, but Latinas are also noticeably underrepresented in U.S. sports teams. This is not necessarily something that should be a weight on the shoulders of young Latinas, whether they are simply looking for an activity to join or looking to play professionally. However, it is something for the nation as a whole keep in mind. It is difficult for girls to even name a professional U.S. Latina athlete that they can say they admire.

Evelyn and Zaira definitely advise Latinas everywhere to stick with or try out a sport, if they are up for it. They both see the value of playing in a sport from a non-competitive standpoint, as participation can result in new friendships and help one learn about her physical strengths.

Rosca de Reyes

Photo Credit: http://www.mexicoinmykitchen.com/2011/01/rosca-de-reyesthree-kings-bread-recipe.html

Photo Credit: http://www.mexicoinmykitchen.com/2011/01/rosca-de-reyesthree-kings-bread-recipe.html

On January 6, families and friends gathered around the continent to take part of a 300 year-old tradition.

Día de los Reyes is traditionally celebrated twelve days after Christmas. Similar to Christmas, children expect to receive presents from los Reyes Magos (the three wise men) who brought the presents of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to newborn Jesus. In preparation for los Reyes Magos, children leave their shoes outside filled with hay and water for the animals that los Reyes ride on.

La Rosca de Reyes (king’s bread/cake) is usually served for merienda along with chocolate caliente or atole. The round shape of the bread evokes the crowns worn by los Reyes Magos while the colorful dried fruit signifies the crown jewels. Others extend the metaphor of the circular shape to the symbolism of the eternal love for God, which has no beginning nor end.

Arguably the most significant part of la rosca is the appearance of a plastic infant Jesus. If the plastic doll appears when cutting a slice from the bread, then the person who found the plastic doll must host a feast on February 2, otherwise known as Candlemas Day. On February 2, the people who were sharing the rosca rejoin again to eat tamales and drink atole. Sometimes there will be more than one plastic figurine hidden in la rosca, which helps reduce the cost and work of the festivities on February 2nd.

While some families prefer to avoid getting the plastic doll, it is actually considered good luck to find the baby Jesus — it is believed that finding the plastic doll is a sign of prosperity.

Other traditions include hiding a ring and a thimble. It is said that the person who finds the ring will be the next to get married, and the person who finds the thimble will spend the rest of the year single.