I feel like Hispanics are exposed to many traditions which help us come closer to our families. My personal favorite is El Dia de Los Muertos. Growing up surrounded by parents who worked and went to school, I never really got the opportunity to experience El Dia de Los Muertos at home. I believe I was six years old when I finally got a chance to see that it was more than just scattering calaberas around the house.
I remember traveling with my mom and dad across the border to Cd. Juarez. As with many people in El Paso both of my parents were born and raised here. Indeed many weekends of my childhood were spent in Juarez visiting family. Our first stop was my mother’s aunt’s house. I walked in and, to my surprise, found an altar with a picture that I thought I had seen before. I walked up to it incredibly intrigued. The picture looked like my mom but something was quite different. It was in black and white but I could still tell it wasn’t her. My mom’s aunt saw me studying the picture of this mystery woman, came over, and told me that she was my grandmother. I stayed there studying her picture, looking at symbols of her favorite things. I found out she loved to cook and that she was an impressive baker. Although I knew that I’d never get to meet her, I felt close to her as her sister told me things about her life in front of the altar.
I can’t quite remember anything after that, but it is a memory that has stayed impressed in my mind. Nowadays around the end of October I push for my parents to set up an altar dedicated to my grandparents. As a little girl, it helped a lot to know a bit more about my family members whom I’ll never meet. I want my little brother to have the same experience and to get closer to our true Hispanic culture.