Every person is unique and distinctive because of their own genetic diversity and culture. When I think of the word culture it makes me think about family, my own values, beliefs, and traditions. Usually your culture stems from where you were born and raised, but for me it was a little different. My parents lived in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico they’re whole lives until I was born. They grew up with Mexican values and passed on their beliefs and traditions to me, even though I was raised in Houston. We didn’t have family in Houston, but every summer we would make a trip to Mexico so I could stay in touch with my roots and for that I am grateful.
Family is an important and big aspect in life for a lot of Mexicans. I remember having my first memory of walking down the streets of Mexico at a very young age. I believe I was around 6 when I had finally met all my cousins, uncles, and aunts for the first time. I was ecstatic to have family around me and it made me feel a lot better knowing I wasn’t so alone. From then on, I went to Mexico every summer. Throughout the years, I learned that the general culture of Mexican families has a strong foundation in unity. Family always comes first and in my own experience we have always been united no matter what. Many of my family members tend to live near each other so it has always been a big get-together for whatever event we celebrate. Having such a close and loving family influenced me as an individual. It provided me with a sense of identity and support.
Catholicism is another part of my identity that was influenced by Mexican culture and my parents. Whenever we would come to Mexico, we would stay for months. Over those months, I remember attending church every Sunday at a catholic church led by my uncle. I was baptized at a very young age and began going to church school each Wednesday. In those classes I prepared for my Communion and a few years after that I did my Conformation. Religion has always been a big part of my family’s values and beliefs. To this day there are many customs that I follow in daily life when praying and attending church. It seems to bring my family together in a spiritual way and it’s something I will carry on for the rest of my life.
I believe Mexican culture comes alive through food. Since I was a little girl, I’ve always been fascinated by the women’s cooking in my family. I would go to the kitchen and sit down on the counter to watch, while my mom and grandma would stay all day in the kitchen making food for everyone. Stereotypical foods like rice and beans was an everyday meal in my house. I learned how to make handmade tamales, tortillas, mole, and other mexican cuisines as I got older. Cooking meals for the family has been a big part of my culture. It also allowed all of us to come together for a big meal to talk with one another about our day. Eating meals was done together, never individually. It bought a sense of togetherness between us.
A cultural Mexican tradition that is widely used in Mexico and in the United States is a quinceanera. I actually had my own quince when I was 15 in Mexico. It was and always be a fond memory that I will keep with me until I die. Quinceaneras have a lot of religious and custom traditions incorporated into them. I remember wearing a beautiful big pink dress and carrying a bouquet of flowers the whole day. After I had a church ceremony, we went to a dance hall and celebrated. Throughout the night, I carried out certain traditions. For example, I had to change my flats into heels. This represented that I was becoming a woman and was entering a new level in life. The whole concept of a quince is to leave your girlhood behind. I received gifts such as a last doll and jewelry to emphasize that I was becoming an adult. Celebrations like this keep traditions alive and is a big part of Mexican culture.
Culture can influence a person’s beliefs, values, and thoughts. Everyone is unique in their own way and it is a beautiful thing. It helps you understand yourself a little better. It can help you identify with your place of origin and helps you comprehend where you are from. My Mexican culture made me who I am today and for that I am thankful. Throughout the years of my life, I’ve formed my own values and beliefs by being raised in a Mexican household. Culture for me is a blend of your religion,values,food and customs. All humans have some cultural differences and similarities. At the end of the day, each one of us is connected in some form through our individual cultures.