November 2nd: A Cranky Note.

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No, I don’t have a pan de muerto recipe for you. Or a how to on sugar skulls, or a picture my ofrenda, or anything related to el día de los muertos.

Don’t ask. I cannot help you.

Actually, I won’t help you. I refuse and abstain. Crankily so. Here’s why: just because I am Mexican does not mean I observe this particular celebration or want anything to do with it.

Until the imagery of sugar skulls, Catrinas, and paths littered with marigold petals became mainstream, celebrations of día de los muertos was geographically dependent. Central to southern Mexico, yes, sure, this may be part of your cultural tradition. Operative words ‘may be.’

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It was in 2016 when I visit for the first time the land of the Native peoples of the State of Sonora. And from that first moment, I felt connected to them, I have known many native villages, but they, in particular, are special to me. The place where I was born does not have roots of native ancestry, because they were exterminated at the time of colonization, so, I don't know where the bronze color of my skin comes from, I don't know where the mixture of my blood comes from, and knowing them is to know a part of me. That desert land that meets the sea and that catches you with its colors at sunset. Mayos and Yaquis, two societies that have taught me who I am, and with whom I will be living for the next few weeks . Fue en el año 2016 cuando pisé por primera vez la tierra de los pueblos Nativos del Estado de Sonora. Y desde ese primer momento, me sentí conectado a ellos, he conocido muchos pueblos, pero ellos en particular son especiales para mi. El lugar donde nací no tiene raíces de pueblos nativos, pues fueron exterminados en la época de la colonización, por lo tanto, no se de donde viene el color bronce de mi piel, no se de donde viene la mezcla de mi sangre, y conocerlos a ellos es conocer una parte de mi. Esa tierra desértica que se junta con el mar y que te atrapa con sus colores al atardecer. Mayos y Yaquis, dos pueblos que me han enseñado quien soy, y con quienes estaré conviviendo por las siguientes semanas.

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Being northern Mexican, my cultural traditions were of Yaqui deer dancers and paper flowers, mesquite smoke mixing with the scent of chileverde and beef (and don’t give me your bland watery midwestern beef, I want dry desert beef tasting of the beefiest of beefs), citrus blossoms in the spring, chiltepin on tables, having your own machaca guy, and no one ever asking what kind of tortilla you want your carne asada taco on because there is only one answer, harina.

There’s a point to me being cranky. From the American point of view, every foreign country is seen as a homogeneous object, without distinct peoples, customs, languages, cuisines, etc. Why not think this way, when everything that was unique and of the land which the United States now inhabits was pushed aside like rubbish?

So of course everyone from Mexico is short, dark brown, black of hair and eye. Of course they all have their family mole recipe. Of course they have an altar at home. Of course they’re catholic. Of course they’re a stereotype.

Or we’re not.

2 Replies to “November 2nd: A Cranky Note.”

  1. Don’t blame you! People are often ignorant and would be surprised to find the people, food, music and customs vary greatly in different regions of Mexico. Just like other countries around the world. You don’t look like Pati Jinich either

    Sent from my iPad



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