By Paola Guzman & Adela Ramos
1. The Art
Frida Kahlo. Not only were her eyebrows always on fleek, she also had amazing artistic talents. Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907, in Coyoacan, Mexico. Kahlo contributed greatly to Figural Expressionism Art. Most of her 200 paintings are self portraits that touched upon the realities and hardships of self appearance. Frida’s art lives with color as she kept it true to her culture. The bulk of her works did have a melancholic message about events in her life, but used bright and attractive colors commonly seen in Mexican crafts and arts. Frida loved to role play for her art, she would dress up in traditional Mexican dresses and scarves.
2. The Food
Empanadas. Allow us to set the stage: imagine a shredded rotisserie seasoned chicken with mashed potatoes, steamed onions, cilantro and tomato, wrapped in a golden crisp shell made of corn dough. This half-sun shaped appetizer is all yours to eat. It’s a true delight filled with flavor and varied with texture. It’s never too late, even if Hispanic Heritage month has passed. Empanadas are commonly found in Hispanic restaurants and bakeries.
3. The Vibrant Events
The Smithsonian Celebrates Latino Culture. You can see artworks by both Picasso and Kahlo, as well as live performances and eye-opening lectures by visiting the Smithsonian during national Hispanic Heritage month. For a listing of events, visit http://www.si.edu/events/heritagemonth. El Barrio Latin Jazz festival. They aren’t the only ones celebrating the Hispanic/Latino impact on our communities. The El Barrio Latin Jazz festival is also held during Hispanic Heritage month in Harlem and New York City. The Latin Jazz festival is held from mid September to the end of the month to acknowledge the impact of Hispanic Music. Keep reading to #4 on why Hispanic music is so important. Obama Le Gusta Art & Humanities. Obama recently awarded five Latino/Hispanics with the National Medal of Arts and Humanities. The recipients were Author Sandra Cisneros, musician Santiago Jimenez Jr., film director/actor Luis Valdez, playwright Moises Kaufman and Author Rudolfo Anaya. The recipients were honored because they successfully incorporated Latino culture into American Arts and Humanities.
4. The Dancing
Merengue. How about some Merengue? No, not Meringue pie. The traditional music/dance known for its upbeat style and march-like dance. Merengue originated from the Dominican Republic, but is now well incorporated into Latino culture. A party is not usually a party if no one gets up for some merengue dancing. Famous artists include the band Oro Solido, Juan Luis Guerra, and Olga Tañón.
Batchata is famous for its romantic style and two-step slow dance. Batchata also originated from the Dominican Republic. This is the easiest dance to learn; it’s two steps to the right and then two to the left. However, the simplicity does not matter when it comes to the effect the music has. Its lyrics are usually very romantic, and can either make your heart swell up or break. Batchata is perfect for all ages, whether it be your grandparents enjoyng the slow-pace, or a young couple blushing at the firm Batchata hold. Popular artists include Aventura, Prince Royce, and Frank Reyes.
5. Cause We're Lit
Spanish/Latino literature is filled with the same variety and sentiment of other literature. It explores common topics like love, confusion and sadness. After all, all humans feel; all that changes is the languages we feel in. There is a wide selection of poets and novelists you can enjoy; the most pominent is Pablo Neruda. Famous for his poetry, his words usually have a bittersweet effect on your soul. His birth name is actually Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto. Neruda, born in Chile, won a Nobel Prize for Literature. His poems range from discussions on love, fake friends and politics. Neruda has a harsh yet romantic voice and commonly has me yelling “hell yeah!” after every line.
6. The Inventions
You might not feel the need to celebrate a culture that is not yours. Would that change if you knew things you use everyday were invented by a Latino/Hispanic? Captcha. Have you ever been asked if you were a robot? And then asked to rewrite blurred letters/number presented in a small box? That’s Captcha, a form of preventing spam and other bugs from corrupting the website. Martin Abadi, an Argentinian computer scientist, was part of the small group of inventors that created this system. How ‘bout them apples? Or cookies? Birth Control. Yes, it can be annoying, but it’s a necessity if you plan on being sexually active and do not plan on having children anytime soon. For this, thank Luis E. Miramonte, a Mexican scientist famous for co-inventing progestin norethisterone, used in oral contraceptives.
7. The Work Ethic
Lazy? Rapists? Drug Lords? We might wish. More like, arthritis, back aches and chipped nails. Most of Latino/ Hispanic immigrants start off, and for most, remain in manual labor jobs. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t bad. Bad is being paid $9 a day rather than an hour. Having to use all your scarce recourses to make a living for you and your family. Like my aunt says, “I’d rather be poor in the U.S. than poor in El Salvador. At least here, my work gets me breakfast, lunch and dinner.” Work ethic is so strong; Latino/Hispanics might actually be willing to build the Trump wall themselves if they get paid. Either way, we’re winning. This year might be too late to properly celebrate Hispanic Heritage month, which began Sept. 15 and ends Oct. 15. However, Hispanic/Latino culture should be appreciated all year-long! Diversity is an amazing thing, and being culturally aware is even better. Always keep in mind that we all shed the same colored blood. Hope these reasons come in handy for next year’s Hispanic Heritage month!