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Mexican ‘dichos’ are wise old sayings with moral lessons for all

By in Press Enterprise on January 6, 2018

By Frances J. Vasquez

These days just after Christmas and New Year’s are wonderful times to reflect on the joyful events in our lives and remember cherished friends and loved ones — both past and present.

I value and honor the traditions imparted by my bilingual, bicultural Mexican American family. We children were educated with generous sprinklings of dichos (sayings), proverbs and folk legends such as La Llorona and El Cucúy to reinforce the lessons at hand. It was double the fun, especially at Christmas when our family celebrated traditions from both cultures.

Riverside writer Frances J. Vasquez is a regular contributor to Inlandia Literary Journeys.

What a wonderful season! The focus of abuelo’s home in Highgrove was the large Nacimiento holiday display our family erected featuring the holy family, angels, shepherds, pastoral animals, the three wise men and a star. We decorated our Christmas tree in the living room, where it remained until after the Epiphany. We hung stockings on our bedposts on Christmas Eve for Santa Claus to fill, and on Christmas day we marveled at the beautiful presents under the tree.

When my sisters and I were old enough to attend midnight Mass, we were allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve. It was usually a new outfit that we happily put on to show off at church. Christmas morning, we gathered around the tree to exchange and unwrap presents. We feasted on tamales, sweets, and other holiday delights.

Mama told stories of how Navidad was celebrated in México: Children wrote letters to the three kings requesting a gift. Sometimes they placed letters in balloons to release in the air for the requests to reach the kings. On the night of Jan. 5, we put our shoes outside our doorstep before going to bed just like the children in México. The next morning, on […]    

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