Being married to a proud mexicano I am often asked what we do to celebrate 5 de mayo (May 5th, the commemoration of the Battle of Puebla, see more here). Honestly, my husband didn’t celebrate it en grande in his 24 years growing up in Mexico- mostly they learned the history of the war, La Guerra de los Pasteles, and once in a while would get a day off of school. But now living in the US (and especially in Texas) we are embracing May 5th as a day to celebrate Latino heritage. This year we made some beautiful amate paintings, watched folkloric dances, and participated in a fun “cinco de mayo” party by making sopes and other goodies. We told the kids this was a festive time for both Mexico and the US to celebrate Mexican culture, and an opportunity for some to learn more about it.
Here are some ideas for you to learn about Mexican culture with your kids, and celebrate el 5 de mayo: Continue reading →
“Each year, approximately 350,000 people attempt to be smuggled through the U.S.-Mexican border…this is one boy’s journey.” SMUGGLED is a new film that tells the story of a 9 year old boy and his mother, as they are smuggled into the US in an attempt to immigrate to a better life. Though it is based on real stories, it is actually fictional/narrative film and received 5 festival awards and 15 official selections in 2012. Here is the official trailer:
Finding similarities and differences when reading fairy tales from around the world hones kids’ critical thinking skills, and helps them to focus on the details. Even the Common Core Standards includes this in one of their “Reading Literature” standards:
Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story (e.g., Cinderella stories) by different authors or from different cultures (RL.2.9.).
Fast, easy, delicious. When I was asked to share a simple family dinner recipe, I immediately thought of Chicken Tinga. Tinga de pollo is a Mexican dish that came about after the Spanish conquest. The kitchens of the many religious convents in Puebla, Mexico (near Mexico City) began to mix new ingredients (chicken, onion, olive oil) with the traditional and indigenous foods (like corn, beans, tomato, and chiles) to create a new fusion of what now constitutes Mexican food. Because of this, Puebla was considered the “Centro Culinario del País” (Culinary Capital of Mexico). Continue reading →
Migration of Monarch Butterflies, image credit: Harald Süpfle, creative commons use
It’s the migration season for 100 million monarch butterflies, as they fly from Canada and the northern US, south to Mexico for the winter. In February, they’ll star their journey back up north. Kids: can you follow their migration path on a map? Why would butterflies (and some birds!) go south for the winter? In Texas this October, we’ve seen the travelers pass through our garden to sip on some of our butterfly weed and lantana. Here are some great resources for teachers and parents to use to teach their kids about the amazing monarch butterflies. Continue reading →
It’s Monarch migration season- when 100 million monarch butterflies fly from Canada and the northern US south to Mexico for the winter. Learn more about monarch butterflies with these great resources. Kids: can you follow their migration path on a map? Why would butterflies (and some birds!) go south for the winter? When do you think they will migrate back north? In Texas this October, we’ve been seeing the voyagers pass through our garden to sip on some of our butterfly weed and lantana. Here is a cute and easy craft that even the little ones will enjoy as you learn about these fascinating creatures. Continue reading →
This weekend we visited MECA in Houston (Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts) for their annual Día de los Muertos exhibit and celebration. Here is a slideshow of what we saw. Look for:
Ofrendas (the altars families made for their loved ones)
Day of the Dead is a holiday celebrated in Mexico, other countries in Latin America, some places in the US with large Hispanic populations, some countries in Europe, and the Philippines. Based on the Catholic holidays of All Saints Day and All Souls Day, “Day of the Dead” generally is a day of remembrance of loved ones who have died, commemorated with visits to the cemetery. Families often light candles at the graves and leave offerings of flowers (especially marigolds, “cempasúchiles“), or for children, sweets and toys. Many people also make an altar in their home, dedicated to their loved ones who have passed away.
Photo: Taken by Tomascastelazo, Creative Commons use.
The weeks leading up to Day of the Dead, shops and markets in Mexico are filled with skeletons (calacas)- dressed up and doing everyday things. They are decorated, whimsical, and funny, and often assume every day activities: playing guitars, working as a carpenter, going fishing, or getting married. They might be made of paper maché, wood, chocolate or sugar. In some parts of Mexico, there is a procession through the town of older teens carrying a coffin with someone dressed as a skeleton. People toss in coins, mandarin oranges, or candy into the coffin. Continue reading →
What do you know about Cinderella? Perhaps the blonde-haired, blue eyed, Disney princess? Maybe you’ve read the Brothers Grimm version from 1800′s Germany, or even farther back to the late 1600′s with Charles Perrault‘s version. Did you know that Cinderella stories are not limited to a Western European perspective, and in fact appear in more than 500 versions around the world? No one knows the true origin of the famous folktale and its universal theme of good versus evil- but we can enjoy all of the unique twists and learn about cultural values, as we read the diverse stories.
Kid World Citizen is proud to collaborate with some of the best multicultural and educational blogs on the web to present “Cinderella Story Around the World.” While this international project is only a small sampling of the versions of the folktale that are available, we worked together to provide a cross-cultural selection suitable for elementary classrooms. Continue reading →
Chias are a tiny seed from Mexico and the southwest US that were used by the Aztecs and Mayans since 1000 BC. Many of these ancient grains have been recently discovered to be super-foods, packed with antioxidants and other health benefits. Chia seeds are filled with protein, fiber and omega-3! In Mexico, people enjoy chia seeds in aguas frescas (such as lemonade) especially for healthy digestion, as a detox agent, and to stabilize blood sugar.
Make this delicious and nutritious chia lemonade from Mexico with your kids, and encourage them to try this “new” food today! The more we expose our children to new and different tastes and textures, the more likely they are to continue to be adventurous eaters. Continue reading →
Bazaar Sabado, Mexico City with my brother-in-law Mario
Ever since I met my husband, when he was an exchange student from Mexico at my U.S. university, he has been bragging about an amazing summer camp he went to as a child in Mexico D.F.: “There were sports and games, we would swim and have gymnastics every day, they taught us about leadership and did team-building activities.” He always said that one day, he would send his kids there. Continue reading →
Flags in their basic form are pieces of fabric flown from poles, that identify countries or groups of people. But the colors, symbols, and designs of the flags hold so much more information about the people and cultures they represent. People may be able to distinguish and recognize numerous flags- but how many times do we really have insights into their background? My husband shared the fascinating legend behind the Mexican flag to my kids and I:
Before we make Las Enchiladas Suizas, I’d like to debunk a common myth about Mexico: Cinco de Mayo is NOT Independence Day. Mexican Independence Day, the most important national holiday in Mexico, is September 16th. Cinco de Mayo on the other hand, isn’t really celebrated in Mexico, but rather is popular in the US as a patriotic holidays for Mexican-Americans. May 5th actually commemorates the Mexican army’s victory (on May 5, 1862) over the occupying French troops in the Battle of Puebla, a surprising and inspirational victory in one battle in the war against France. Mexico lost the war and Maximiliano became the short-lived emperor, ruling from 10 April 1864 – 19 Jun 1867.
How is this related to Enchiladas Suizas? Rolling tortillas around foods Continue reading →