Tag Archives: #Mexican

The Women in the Trees

Informant: TH; Interviewer’s Sister

“Dude, okay do u remember when-” *interviewee adjusts in their seat* “when we would go camping and our uncle [REDACTED] would tell us that story about the white trees?”

Interviewer, in fact, did not remember.

*interviewee gasps and smiles before cracking their knuckles*

“So this is how he would tell it:

There was a man and a boy alone in the woods, just sitting and waiting. The man was a drunk and the boy was his son. One night they get into a screaming match, right? And they, like, separate for a bit. The boy takes a walk and the man stays at the campsite- I think that’s what happens?”

*interviewee pauses to think*

“Yeah, anyway. They go their separate ways, and like the boy is walking and the man is drinking. The boy is on his merry little way when he gets stopped by a woman in a white dress. And like most people would assume, the boy thought she was lost. And so he leads her back to their campsite. Mind you, this lady hasn’t spoken a single word. She’s like just following him back.

And they get back to the man who is working on another handle. And he goes white as a ghost-” *interviewee uses their hands to rub their face*

“White. Pale. Anyway. The man says to the boy ‘Why do you have that poor woman?’ and the boy is like mad confused. He’s all like ‘I’m not tryna argue with you’ and so on. The man starts screaming going ‘let her go! let her go!’ and at this point the boy is mad and confused so he turns to look at the woman and her head is missing. As soon as he starts screaming, he lets go of the headless body, and like a shoe falls from the sky. The two look up and lo and behold: a bunch of women hanging by the neck in the trees. The man and the boy were never heard from again.”

My Interpretation:

I think it was another way to teach a family lesson. At the time our uncle said told this to my sister and I, we were constantly bickering and fighting. We are close in age, so we were constantly at each other’s neck. In my opinion, I think the story is essentially: treat your family right or you’ll die in bad standing. It’s a weird way to go about it but it worked!

Que Fresa!


PC is my roommate at USC. Her mother is Spanish and her father is Mexican. They both immigrated to the United States when they were young adults and work to incorporate both cultures in addition to American culture. She grew up in the suburbs of Miami and now lives in Dallas, Texas. 


PC: Growing up in the suburbs my whole life I feel like I always walked the line between being Latina and being white washed. And since my mom is Spanish I was different than my cousins in Mexico too. So I would always go visit my family in Mexico and they would always say “Que fresa!” whenever I did something they considered more American or stuck up.

DO (Interviewer): I know that in English that translates to “what strawberry”, could you explain that a little bit more?

PC: Yeah so basically it’s like a term used to describe kids who were like richer Hispanic kids who have a certain personality. My family uses it as a joke but sometimes it’s used as an insult that basically means spoiled rich girls. 

DO: Interesting. I know that your parents are both Mexican and Spanish, is it more prevalent to use in one culture over another or is it used pretty commonly in both?

PC: I think I’ve heard it more used by my dad’s family. It might be just a common term for Hispanic people but I think it’s more of Mexican slang. It’s sort of like the equivalent to people’s ideas of a valley girl. So saying “like” a lot, mixing spanish and english, when things are said more like a question than a statement. Things like that. 


This metaphor is commonly used in Mexican culture and serves as a separator of social status. This phrase is used by lower to middle-class individuals to poke fun at the wealthier class. Oftentimes in society, it is those of the wealthier class that may be making fun of those who don’t have the same social status, so through this term, we see the reversal of that. The direct translation may not make sense to someone, not in this culture so this phrase shows the complexity of lore not in our native languages and cultures. To outsiders looking in it may make no sense, but to those in this culture, it is a common term.  

Mexican Secret Language: “EFE” Language

“Hofo Lafa Cofo Mofo Efe Stafas. Mufuy Bifi Efen.”

Translates to “Hola como estas. Muy bien.”

The informant states that growing up, her cousins began to talk to her in this coded language. Her cousins then taught it to her and explained the rules of how to use it to her. She noted that the more you practice it, the easier it is to do. She also noted that she was able to use it on those who did not know the language but that her parents had been taught it as kids too so she could not use it on them. Additionally, she noted that other kids wanted to learn it but you are not supposed to teach the rule, but rather the other people must learn it by trying to decode it themselves. Lastly, she noted that the language is spoken at a fast pace almost to add to its secretiveness. 

This is a form of folk speech and is pretty rare to hear but well-known in Mexico overall. The folk speech is very similar to pig Latin but a little less complicated. This language is interesting to see in the sense that it is not simply something attributed to children. Oftentimes, those who are older will use it around children to keep their conversations discreet and the children will use it believing that they are secretive. Additionally, the language seems to be something you develop as you are able to use it more frequently and you speak it faster the better you know it. Thus there is a difference between how people say it and how certain people are able to speak it better. 

Mexican Riddles

  1. “Agua pasa por mi casa,

cate de mi corazón.

El que no lo adivinara,

será un burro cabezón.”

2. “Chocó entre dos paredes,

late mi corazón,

quién no sepa mi nombre es un cabezón.”

English Translation: 

  1. “Water passes through my house,

drink from my heart

The one who doesn’t guess it,

will be a big-headed donkey.”

2. “I collide between two walls,

my heart beats,

whoever doesn’t know my name is a big head.”

The informant explains that she learned of these riddles from her grandmother, and heard them many times in Mexico. She was only 5 years old when she first heard of them and when she was first given the riddle, she guessed it wrong. They told her again and emphasized the necessary words so she was able to figure it out. She would ask people in her 5th-grade class about it but most did know it despite its popularity in Mexico. She taught her brothers the riddle when she was older.

These riddles seem to use a lot more vivid imagery compared to other riddles. It utilizes a unique way to figure out the riddle where it deals mainly with hidden words sprinkled throughout the sentences. Other riddles typically have hidden meanings but they utilize hints and clues in order to help solve it but this riddle has to do with the words you hear. Some have attributed the riddles as a way of being able to teach vocabulary in Spanish as it introduces new words and words that are not always featured together.