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Los Deditos

Main Piece: Los Deditos

The following was an interview of a Participant/interviewee about a folk song, which is a bedtime song. She is marked as LT, and I am marked as DM.

LT: So the type of folklore I have is um yeah I’m just gonna say it “Este dedito fue al mercado/ Este dedito compró un huevito/ Este dedito lo cocinó/ Este dedito lo pelo/ Y este dedote se lo comió” so it kind of like uh it rhythms kind of if you sing it um multiple times I heard it first from my dad um he used to sing it to me when I was younger um and usually they sing it while they like they’re playing with your feet so uh the first “este dedito fue al mercado is with your pinky of your feet and then it moves on to the big thumb finishing with “este dedito se lo comio” because its big toe and it eats the egg and stuff um so and then my dad he tells me that he heard it from his mom so my grandma and um when he was back in Mexico when he was younger and my grandma used to do the same thing um to him and his sister as well so uh he would have that always that kinda like something that he heard in his childhood and he brought it up with me and my sister and yeah it was just me and my sister

Translation of the Song:

This little toe went to the market/ This little toe bought an egg/ This little toe cooked it/ This little toe peeled it/ And this big toe ate it


The participant is eighteen years old. She is a Mexican student at the University of Southern California. She told me about how her family has been passing down the same bedtime song. This song is played

DM: Why do like having this piece of folklore tied to your family?

LT:Um I think it’s like really funny um something that you can like play with your own kids my dad did with me and it was something like bonding time I guess and it really makes up of who I am like it reminds me of my background, which is being Mexican um and it reminds me of the family that I have when my grandma was back in Mexico too

DM: Why is this piece of folklore so important to you?

LT: Um I mean it’s something that my parent cause I used to sing it after my dad would sing it to me I would sing it all the time after like it was something that they knew me for um and in fact last week my dad reminded me of it and he would just tell me like oh remember when you used to sing this one and he used to make fun of he would make fun of me like not make fun of me but he just reminded me of what I used to sing a lot um and its I remember it because of that because my dad sang it so many times that I used to sing it and I still sing it sometimes or just hum it sometimes and my dad would remember or remind me of it like oh yeah you used to sing that song

Analysis/ My Thoughts:

I have also heard this song, but I know a different version. I don’t remember the exact lyrics, but I know it was not the lyrics above. Hearing a different version of a childhood song I knew is a weird feeling because I thought it was something just within my family. It is just interesting to see someone else having the same traditions but different traditions than you. One gets so used to doing something a certain way that when they see it a different way it is an uncomfortable feeling.  


The Boys

Main Piece: The Boys

The following was an interview of a Participant/interviewee about a folk art, which is a tattoo that has been passed down in her family. She is marked as NM, and I am marked as DM.

NM: Well this tattoo first started as just a regular tattoo um that of course his mother didn’t want him to get and I took him to get it so shame on me but um I took him. He got it. He came home showed it to his mom and his mom kind of like smacked him a little bit but then she was okay with it. A couple of maybe after that maybe be about a month or two months passed and he actually was uh uh murdered shot in front of his house and uh for everybody that was around him including family friend they um they uh the way they decided to show their love was to uh use this piece of art or tattoo um everybody tattooed themselves and right underneath they put rest in peace they put his name. I would say like most of the family and a couple of close friends of him has it.

DM: Now did some of them get variations of them like did they add certain things to it or have it in different parts of their body?

NM: Well some of them actually uh the original tattoo was it’s a looks like two ink men playing basketball. I did see that some of them took out the basketball and then they added their name um it wasn’t uh most of them have it on their arm but yeah


The participant is thirty-eight years old. She is a Mexican American registered nurse with the Los Angeles County. She told me about how her family has been passing down the same tattoo after the first person to get it passed away.    

DM: Why do you like knowing that your family has this one piece of art that kind of bring them together?

NM: Uh well our family is very very close and uh we have a lot of love for each other that is kind of uh significance that uh we are paying tribute to him.

DM: And where or who did he get this tattoo idea?

NM: We actually went to the tattoo artist which he is one of my friends and he was looking through some books and he saw that and since they are very they are all they always they love playing sports and he saw that the little ink men were not like normal and they were holding a basketball so that’s what he liked about it  

DM: Why is this tradition important to you?

NM: I truly believe that everybody getting this tattoo was just a tribute. If I were to ever get this tattoo, it would be for him.

Analysis/ My Thoughts:

This tattoo was done by the same artist every time, but everyone did not get the same exact design as the original. Some of them added their names and the tattoo was not always in the same place. These few changes make something into folklore, which is exactly what happened with this piece of art/tattoo. In this specific tattoo below, there is no basketball and his name was added.


How to fight

Main Piece: How to Fight

The following was an interview of a Participant/interviewee about a folk tradition that has been passed down in his family. He is marked as AT, and I am marked as DM.

AT: I was maybe about (pause) prolly about six years old. I remember we were in laundry mat and I remember uh a kid was hitting me and he was a little bigger than me and I didn’t want to part of it and then my dad said “if you don’t fight back, I’m gonna uh you know I’m gonna hit you so who you prefer for him to hit you or for me to hit or for me to hit you” so I got in a fight that day. It was my first fight ever uh after that day at the house he said “hey come on Alex let’s go outside” and she said “hey you gonna learn how to fight today” and I was like “learn how to fight?” and we uh you know showed me how to punch uh showed me certain things uh it was more mental than physical at the time and he told me I remember he said “fight is like learning is like something every man needs to know its like a survival thing”. I thought it was just me and sure enough he did it to my brother we were at the park same thing a kid was hitting him bigger than him I was going to get in a fight with the kid and my dad said “no David you get in a fight or I am going to beat you up you know I’m am going to kick your butt you know you choose who do you want” and sure enough David got into a fight you know. I’ve done it with Christine the baby in a more uh filtered way you know she’s done the boxing and you know and I don’t know maybe my grandkids one day they’ll prolly I’ll prolly do it to them and you know  


The participant is thirty-four years old. He is a Mexican police officer with the University of Southern California. He told me about how his father taught him how to defend himself.   

DM: Why do you like having this piece of folk tradition being tied to your family?

AT: Fighting is no stranger to the Mexican culture and I think it’s just a way of life in Mexico you learn how to fight.

DM: Why is this tradition important to you?

AT: As I grew up, I learned the psychology behind it. Nothing scares me and I use that it helped me to be very successful.

Analysis/ My Thoughts:

This tradition that has been passed down AT’s family is also a big tradition in Mexico. This means that this tradition has been passed down throughout many families within Mexico and other places that those Mexicans have moved to. When they move, they take their traditions with them. AT’s father was born in Mexico and AT has lived the United States most of his life. AT’s kids are in the United States, which means that this tradition will grow in the United States or where ever AT’s go.

Easter Eggs

Main Piece: Easter Eggs

The following was a story told to me by a college of mine, ER, and I am DM. The story was about a new tradition created within her family that changed the way her family celebrates Easter.

ER: I am going to tell the transition of my family celebrating Easter. My grandma grew up in a traditional Catholic household where they would go to mass every Easter. In terms of Easter, she would always mention that they would go to mass on like Christmas Easter and that they would be there and kind of celebrating the resurrection of the Lord and so this idea of faith kind of guiding your year of setting the tone for the practices of daily life. When moved to the United States, um they did not go to mass growing up so my grandmother kid of lost this tradition of when she raised my father and his siblings. They did not go to mass other than Christmas and they didn’t really celebrate Easter and that Tradition was lost for about thirty years. My brother and all of my cousins started to having children so it’s kind of another layer of transition in our family holidays where Easter was now more about the kids. Everyone got together on Easter day to celebrate and we would use typically in Mexico these are called cascarones which are confetti filled eggs and so typically you go around smashing them on people’s head kind of a fun little chiste (joke) that you do with each other. My family thinks they are very funny so my cousins always try to get us like when we were unaware. Two years ago, bought the color dye from the color runs on Amazon and filled the eggs with the dye. So every year we have about 500-1000 Easter eggs that we break on each others heads. We have this huge cascarone fight. It has been interesting seeing the change transition from going to a typical conservative formal Easter celebration to nowhere really it’s just a day to spend with family and focus on each other and that time together.


The participant is thirty-two years old. She is a Mexican American high school English 10 teacher. She told me about how her Easter evolved from a traditional Catholic Easter to a new tradition.  

DM: Where/who did they learn it from?

ER: It is just something that happened organically over time

DM: Why is this tradition important to you?

ER: I think part of that we are going over the typical norm of like society and just being typical Latino like you go to church that was the obligation that you had to do to now like making it our own and kind of making it what works for us.

Analysis/ My Thoughts:

I think this is a perfect example of how one thing changes over time but still the same thing. The tradition of celebrating Easter has stayed the same, but the way they Easter is celebrating is different. There are multiple ways these generations celebrated Easter day. 

You can find the story of the eggs here:

Rentería, Melissa. “’Confetti-Filled Eggs’ a Tradition.” San Antonio Express-News, San Antonio Express-News, 21 Apr. 2011, This article talks more in depth about the history of where these cascarones came from as well as how popular they are today. They mention how there are stores where they just sell these cascarones.



Main Piece: Chili

The following was a story told to me by a college of mine, RD, and I am DM. The story was about a family recipe that was passed down that she learned to do on her own.

RD: Every Christmas Eve we have tamales and it’s just a tradition we’ve weve for as long as I can remember we eat tamales but uh her specific salsa she told me always had to go on her tamales otherwise I would be cursed so um to this day even if its not one of her tamales I need her salsa to put on it otherwise I can’t eat it cause I don’t know I feel like something is going to happen to me.

DM: Do you know what’s in her salsa?

RD: Yes I do.

DM: Can you tell me?

RD: Sure so its uh a couple different kinds of chiles she puts um jalapeno then she put habaneros and then she puts cilantro and tomato and onion salt and pepper. I think that’s it. Yeah I think that’s it.  


The participant is twenty-eight years old. She is a Mexican American assistant principal at a high school. One day she posted a picture on instagram of her making her grandma’s recipe from scratch. I wondered how long that family recipe was passed down in her family, so I asked her about.   

DM:Why do you like sharing this recipe/Why do you know this recipe/ Where/who did they learn it from/ Why is this repice important to you?

RD: Cause he salsa is the best salsa I’ve ever  had in my life um even when I go to Mexican restaurants I want it know. I don’t know if its because she’s convinced me that it has some special power or just because I think it is really good. She was also really important to me and she’s has alzheimer’s so um it’s like definitely not the same person as when she kind of gave me the story so I feel like it’s kind of a way to keep that part of her.

Analysis/ My Thoughts:

I think this story was actually very similar to what we were debating in class about oral versus written folklore. Her grandmother’s recipe book in her head with becomes something authored by her. She won’t be giving it to another else but her family. Instead of being an oral book it will now become something physical that can be passed down within her family. It raises the question of who the recipe book belongs to. The recipe book is hers, but the recipe book is her grandmothers. As it gets passed down, will it raise the question of where these recipes came from.