USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘latino’
Folk Beliefs
Folk medicine
Folk speech
Protection

Sana Sana Colita de Rana – Spanish saying

“Sana sana, colita de rana. Si no te alivias hoy, te alivias mañana”

Translation: Heal, heal, little tail of a frog. If you do not heal today, you will heal tomorrow.


 

This saying has been promulgated throughout almost all Spanish speaking households, and the interlocutor asserts that it is an essential aspect of growing up and learning the capacity of one’s body and mind. The last part of the saying usually goes “si no sanas hoy, sanarás mañana,” which is more directly translated to heal, while the verb aliviar, as used in my interlocutor’s version, translates more directly to alleviate. She mentioned that her personal version is one she learned from her own mother despite the other version being much more popular. She taught this version to her own children, saying it when they came to her with scrapes and bruises, seeking comfort amidst their tears.

This saying is most commonly used to comfort an ill or hurt child. Arguably a universal notion, children have quite an immense amount of energy that requires some sort of exertion. Through this, many children play throughout their youth, and in doing so, they are exposed to myriad dangers and possibilities of getting injured. Therefore, this saying allows and even encourages the exploration that children experience through play, asserting that an injury by way of play is one that is trivial and easily cured. This saying also illustrates the compassion and care that Latino parents give to their children, reassuring them that tomorrow promises healing and opportunity for further exploration.

Legends

La Llorona

Primary informant: “La Llorona, I think is just really a part of every, like, Latin American household, I guess. Um, and specifically, I didn’t hear it from my dad because he doesn’t really believe in that shit, but from, like, my aunts and my grandma, whatever. And, um, it’s basically, this lady who… it’s like, okay, myth, legend, I’m not sure which one, but it’s like this lady who had kids, um, I don’t know what happened to the husband, if it was out of wedlock, or he died or whatever– the guy’s not there and, um, she ends up having a lover and the lover doesn’t want kids or whatever, so she takes her kids and she drowns them, in the river, and he ends up not getting with her anyway. So she just- um, like, got, I don’t know, got really sad or whatever and just, like, walks around. They say- people say that they see her walking around, like, rivers or, like, places with children and she’s always, like, they can, like, hear her, like, crying or something and just being really sad and all of that.”

Secondary informant: “La Llorona, she’s forever cursed to stay on Earth and she—for eternity, to find the remains of her children. And that’s why she’s constantly near rivers, because she’s trying to find the remains of her children and she can’t ascend into the afterlife until she does. So that’s why she’s stuck here, that’s why she’s hanging around here and shit.”

Tertiary Informant: “The one that I’m more familiar with, her husband was cheating on her. And so to get revenge on him, she drowns her children.”

Primary Informant: “The variations of that…”

Tertiary Informant: “But in whatever… ends up, he never ends up with her…”

Primary informant: “And she eventually ends up drowning her kids.”

Secondary Informant: “She’s forever alone.”

Laughs

Primary Informant: “Yeah, forever alone.”

 

Both informants who shared information about La Llorona are of Mexican descent and heard this story from their families. This story was shared in the primary informant’s apartment. We spent the afternoon sharing stories and combining the information we all had about each legend. These stories are important to the informants because they have been passed on from the older generations in their families. Because they value their older relatives, they value and enjoy the stories they’ve been told.

 

Adulthood
Childhood
Life cycle
Rituals, festivals, holidays

The Quinceañera

    “The tradition of quinceañeras started back in the days of the Aztecs.  Young girls were being sacrificed and the ritual showed the transition from girlhood to womanhood.  As time went by, it turned into a ceremony to commemorate a girl turning into a woman.  Families would reserve a church to celebrate the ceremony, and then they would invite special people.  The ceremony would be a day of partying and such.  Also, a girl is required to take classes before the ceremony in order to learn the significance of the process.”

Because Lizzette is from a Hispanic background, the tradition of celebrating girls’ quinceañeras has been a must in her family.  Almost all women have participated in it.  Lizzette’s grandmother, mother, and aunts have all celebrated it.  Currently, her family is preparing for her sister’s fifteenth birthday with a large quinceañera as well.  Lizzette’s own quinceañera was a great moment in her life.  She loved preparing for the ceremony.  She was able to wear a beautiful dress that she still cherishes, eat great food, be the center of attention, and spend time with her relatives and close friends.
Lizzette sees this celebration as a major part of a girl’s life.  Just how some people have a sweet sixteen, a quinceañera is a special part of her upbringing.  A lot of people see it as an excuse to party, but she sees it as an opportunity to grow.  A quinceañera is the moment a girl is revealed as a woman.  With this ceremony, people change the way they act with the birthday girl.  When a girl turns fifteen, she’s seen as more mature and developed.  Lizzette’s quinceañera was extremely important to her because it was a celebration of her transition from childhood to womanhood.
I think that the celebration of a quinceañera is very valuable and should be maintained as a tradition for young girls.  Since this tradition has been preserved for such a long time, it has a special meaning.  Its purpose is actually meaningful.  Acknowledging a woman’s maturity is essential to a woman’s life.  Also, quinceañeras are such a big deal that families invite many people.  This celebration gives families a chance to reunite with loved ones or people they’ve lost in touch with.

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