As strong Latinas, we should take it upon ourselves to strengthen our culture in ourselves so we can easily spread it to our surroundings. Sometimes it may feel like measures to stifle our culture are being taken more often than not. Although it is sad and unfortunate, we can help promote our culture by embracing our roots. We love our culture and want others to love it just as much as we do. Rediscovering our culture may sound hard, but it is easier than it seems. The best part is that as we are learning more about our culture, we can have fun and educate others as well. Who said you can’t learn and have fun at the same time?
Practice Your Language
How many of you know Spanish but rarely speak it? Have you been saying for years that you wish you could speak Spanish? Today is the day to put this beautiful language into practice! If you know Spanish, have conversations in that language rather than English. Encourage your parents and siblings to speak to you in Spanish. If you never learned the language, talk to your abuleos or classmates. There’s no better way to learn a new language than to surround yourself by people who speak it fluently. Learning the language that your ancestors have spoken helps connect you to your heritage and gets others excited to speak Spanish as well.
Listen to Latino Music
Music is universal; everyone loves it. Although not everyone can agree in their taste of music, there’s a genre for everyone. Sometimes Spanish music is generalized as being limited to just one style of music like mariachis, but the opposite is true. There is a great variety of different Spanish styles of music. Instead of listening to your current favorite albums, try genres such as pop en Español, rock en Español, cumbias, salsa, tropical, rancheras, Duranguense, rancheras, reggaeton, Spanish hip hop —there’s something for all tastes. More likely than not, you will find a genre of Latino-inspired music that matches what you usually listen to. Listen to artists that have appealed to both English- and Spanish-speaking audiences for years, such as Shakira or Enrique Iglesias. The musical rhythms combined with lyrics in Spanish provide you with a refreshing and fun Latino environment. You’ll be soaking in your culture while jamming out at the same time.
Be a Fashionista
Latin America is known for using bright colors in their apparel. Bright reds, greens, yellows, pinks and oranges are embroidered into clothing and woven into hair. Embrace the variety and incorporate color and embroidery into your wardrobe. Adding bright colors to your clothing can really help you display the culture you are so proud of. If you don’t think you’re bold enough to wear such vivid colors, try adding flowers to your hair. Frida Kahlo, a wonderful Latina painter, was known to wear flowers in her hair and always looked beautiful doing so.
Read Latin Literature
There are plenty of books that hold worlds that Latinos can relate to and understand. Countless literary treasures have come from Latin American authors. Chicano literature speaks of the hardships and struggles that Mexican-Americans have had to endure and overcome. The powerful words upon the pages of those books are an inspiration to many. Books such as The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros and Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood by Benjamin Alire Sáenz tell stories of every-day life, but make an impact nonetheless. Reading these books help you learn about your historical background, thus helping enrich your cultural present.
Of course, the easiest way to feed your cultural needs is by spending time with your family. Mamá, papá, tías, tíos, abuelitos, primos – they all shape you into the person you are today. Spending time with them helps you in practicing your Spanish-speaking skills. Turn on Celia Cruz’s “La Vida Es Un Carnaval” and dance along with your tías and primos. Sit around abuelita and listen to her tell stories of when she was young, stories better than any author can write. As you listen to her paint a colorful picture, think of ways you can copy her style. There’s no better example of what your culture looks like than your parents and grandparents.