CONTEXT: My friend said this phrase while referring to her old boyfriend and her new boyfriend. She said that she had gone from “Guatemala a Guatepeor”, I laughed and asked what that meant. Although it was kind of self-explanatory. She learned this phrase from her other female Mexican friends. She finds it very funny and useful, when referring to going from bad to worse.
ANALYSIS: There is a hierarchy between Latin countries and certain bias. So the use of Guatemala as if that is a step down (from Mexico) but then a play on words since the end of Guatemala, is “mala” which means bad, and then the change to Guatepeor, where “peor” means worse. Indicating you went from bad to worse while inserting some latin hierarchy bias.
FESTIVE RITUAL DESCRIPTION: Every January 6 during Epiphany her mother would cook a cake called a “galette des rois” which means a cake for the kings. Inside they would place a small ceramic figure called a “fève” and whoever cut the cake and got the piece would be named king and could order everyone around for the whole day.
INFORMANT DESCRIPTION: Female, French, 42
CONTEXT: She learned this from her family who would do this every New Years Eve. She remembers how much fun it was when she got the “fève” and how she spent the whole day as the queen. She says this would bring the whole family together and make everyone laugh and have so much fun.
THOUGHTS: I think this sounds delicious and fun. Definitely something I wish my family celebrated.
CONTEXT: His mother said this Old Age Proverb occasionally, when referring to someone being very old. His mother learned it from her grandparents who used it with each other to poke fun at their old age. It is a well known Mexican saying that is comically but also points out the Life’s Cycle. It can be said in reference to an elderly person that is not listening, pokes fun and is at their expense. It speaks about the fact that elderly people grow hair in their ears.
ORIGINAL SCRIPT: “Pelo en la oreja…ni duda deja.”
TRANSLATION: “hair in the ear, does not leave a doubt”
THOUGHTS: Although this saying is a bit rude, it is also light hearted and not meant to actually insult anyone. I think it is funny and something rare to point out or notice.
RITUAL DESCRIPTION: This ritual is called a “Limpia” which means a “Cleaning” in English. A woman will grab an egg and fill a glass with water. The person who is receiving the Limpia needs to be naked. Then the woman will rub the egg all over the person’s while chanting Hail Mary in Spanish over and over again. Once the egg has been rubbed all over the body she will crack the egg into the glass filled with water. Then you must wait and watch the glass. If the layer of white that comes up from the yolk comes up in little spikes then you are filled with the evil eye and it is being removed. If not, you did not have the evil eye on you.
INFORMANT DESCRIPTION: Female, 42, Mexican
CONTEXT: This ritual is done when life is not going well for someone and they have reason to believe they are filled with the evil eye. I saw this ritual be preformed life onto another woman. The woman told me this ritual has been passed down through woman for centuries since its indigenous origin. It combined the indigenous shamanistic ritual with Catholicism in an effort to clean someone from evil spirits. She would have it done when her life seems to be filled unnaturally with bad luck and said that after doing a Limpia her life would always turn around for the better. It means a lot to her and she says that she prefers to only have it done by someone who is familiar with the ritual and believes in it the way she does.
THOUGHTS: I was very taken with the performance of the ritual. As it was happening I was apprehensive and was feeling doubt. But as the women looked into the glass and saw the white leaving the yolk, they were so joyful and relieved it made me happy to watch. I figure it doesn’t matter what it is but to change your energy or believe you have been cured from bad luck can only improve your life.
RITUAL DESCRIPTION: This ritual is called Kapparot. The ritual is done on the Eve of Yom Kippur. The ritual consisted of waving a chicken over everyone’s heads on the eve and the chicken was to be slaughtered.
INFORMANT DESCRIPTION: Male, 83, Polish, Jewish
CONTEXT: His mother used to do this ritual up until they immigrated from Poland to Mexico in the 1940s. Then his family stopped. It was supposed to be a sort of charity or sacrifice in order for future prosperity. The ritual could also be done with money and then the money donated but his mother believed the blood of the chicken was more powerful. To him this ritual was dated, and he recalled being young and slightly uncomfortable by it. He also felt sad his mother had to give it up when they immigrated because he saw how important it was to her.
THOUGHTS: I think this ritual is definitely a very specific one in its cultural significance. I think it is slightly extreme to me but that is because I am not close to it culturally but if I were it would not be so surprising. I think all different cultures have rituals that can all sound strange but are significant in their own way. I also felt bad to hear his mother had to give it up in order to assimilate to her new country.