# Loteria

Informant Information:

Yerik Macias is a student at the University of Southern California studying Aerospace Engineering. He comes from a Mexican background, and is originally from Santa Ana, CA.

Game:

“I play a game called Loteria on Christmas. So it’s a I think four by four cards they give you. Each box is a picture. it’s a bunch of different things. There’s random pictures of stuff. It could be a melon, watermelon in English, or something else. I’m not sure why they chose the pictures. The way we do it, a lot of families do it the same way but it depends, you get pinto beans and you put one on every square. Then you choose someone to read out the deck of cards, they shuffle it put it face down and then start taking cards out from it. Then they read off what it is. And then if you get it, you just take a bean off. You can win, my family doesn’t do this, but you can win by getting horizontal or vertical lines, but the way we do it once you completely clear the card, cause otherwise the games are too short. We usually play it with money, so not much money but we get like quarters or dimes and put a different buy in each cents. Whoever wins takes it all. That’s pretty much it, I think.”

Q: Would you say that the way you play Loteria is standard?

“Yeah, there’s little nitpicky stuff, everyone has their house rules but you know, that’s the way you play it.”

Analysis:

The informant’s way of playing was somewhat different than the traditional way of playing. The informant mentions that his family reads off a card and whoever has that card takes a bean off. In the traditional game, there is no mention of pinto beans being used, and the person who reads off the card usually tells a riddle in order to make the card discrete to the other players. The fifty four Loteria cards the informant uses, along with the general way of playing remain true to the traditional game.

# Ratoncito Perez

Informant Information:

Juan Lucero is a student at the University of Southern California studying Mechanical Engineering. He also works at the USC Bookstore in his spare time. He is from a Mexican (Spanish) background, and moved from Chicago, IL to Los Angeles, CA for college.

Folklore:

“My ancestry is Spanish. We made a joke about it in class and we called it the Rat fairy. I believe it’s called ‘Ratoncito Perez’. He would take like your.. he was essentially a tooth fairy, he’d take children’s teeth but if you’re naughty he wouldn’t leave you anything. There’s a longer story but I don’t remember it at this point.”

“Spanish high school teacher.”

Q: Did you personally believe in the ‘Rat fairy’

“No. I learned about the Rat fairy when I was 18 years old, so I was a little too old to believe in it because I mean I had a job.”

Analysis:

The informant couldn’t provide the entire story because he had forgotten large chunks of it, so I did some of my own research to find out where this piece of folklore came from and what the actual story entails. The story first came to fruition after Luis Coloma was asked to make a story for Alfonso XIII. Alfonso had just lost his tooth, so Coloma took inspiration from that.The actual story involves the mouse that lived in Madrid in a box of cookies. He would frequently run away from his house and into bedrooms belonging to kids who lost their teeth.

# Grandmother’s Spanish Rice

Informant Information:

Juan Lucero is a student at the University of Southern California studying Mechanical Engineering. He also works at the USC Bookstore in his spare time. He is from a Mexican (Spanish) background, and moved from Chicago, IL to Los Angeles, CA for college.

Recipe:

“Two cups of rice. Um, two teaspoons of tomato puree or a can of tomato puree. Two diced cloves of garlic. Uh two teaspoons of vegetable oil. Mix it all together and add five cups of water. Let it simmer for 50 minutes.”

Q: Who taught you this recipe?

“My mom. My grandmother taught my mom and my mom taught me.”

Q: When do you usually make it?

“Every other day… Maybe every other week.”

Analysis:

Though this recipe has a long history in his family, he didn’t want to call it a “family recipe” because he wasn’t sure if this recipe was specific to his family. When I look up this recipe of Spanish rice, it didn’t really resemble the other recipes completely. In other versions of this recipe, onions, as well as chicken stock/broth and whole tomatoes (not canned puree) were very common. Though the informant might not think this recipe is a “family” specific recipe, it is likely that this version of rice was modified uniquely by his family.

# New Year Grapes

Informant Information:

Juan Lucero is a student at the University of Southern California studying Mechanical Engineering. He also works at the USC Bookstore in his spare time. He is from a Mexican (Spanish) background, and moved from Chicago, IL to Los Angeles, CA for college.

“We eat grapes on New Years Eve. Each grape represents a wish for the New Year.”

Q: When do you eat these grapes?

“10 minutes before midnight. My mom tried to make us eat them as the clock was counting down but we were like 8 or 9 so we didn’t want to do that.”

Q: What’s a normal wish that you yourself would make?

“Whatever game I was obsessed with at the time, whatever one I wanted.”

Q: Do you know of anyone else who celebrates this tradition? Is it common?

“I know some people, but I don’t know if it’s common”

Analysis:

It surprised me that the informant thought this practice was uncommon, as this tradition is something that I am personally familiar with. I think this might be because we both have Spanish backgrounds, and because further research shows that this tradition is Spanish in origin. The informant’s way of practicing this tradition differed from the original practice, as well as my own. In Spanish tradition, the twelve grapes represent the twelve months of the year. Every grape eaten represents good luck for a single month of the year. In the informant’s case, they symbolized wishes for the New Year.

# Three Kings Day

Informant Information:

Juan Lucero is a student at the University of Southern California studying Mechanical Engineering. He also works at the USC Bookstore in his spare time. He is from a Mexican (Spanish) background, and moved from Chicago, IL to Los Angeles, CA for college.

“Every year after Christmas we put a little toy statue of one of the three wise men into a cake. As we eat it for the Day of the Three Kings. In Spanish we call them kings but in English it’s wise men. We cut up the cake and whoever gets the piece with the king in it, they have to make a bunch of tamales for Easter”

Q: Is this celebration normal in your culture?

“I think so yeah. I’ve seen other people do it”