It’s Hispanic Heritage Month and one of the important aspects of celebrating the Latino culture is the passing down of old motherly superstitions.
The kind of superstitions that are really believable when you are young and only kind-of believable when you get older. And yet, we still believe them because nana and mama told us that they were true. The superstitions covered all aspects of your life including health, food, and every day behavior.
Language can be so amazing, and the Spanish language has some unforgettable phrases. Most of them come in the form of old wives’ tales. Translated they sound funny, but to us they could be a matter of life and death.
Don’t shower when it’s thundering! Someone somewhere determined that a hot shower during a thunderstorm was a dangerous act. Remember this one? Don’t go outside with wet hair! In Spanish it sounds like this: No salgas con el pelo mojado! I’m still afraid to do it.
The wonderful phrases were almost always shouted out by our moms and grandmas because they said it just as we were committing these heinous acts. Many times they shouted this as we were already walking out the door. Their tone of voice a mixture of anger and worry. Moms have an unexplainable sixth sense. As a kid, you just can’t get away with anything. A mother knows.
I remember once when my grandma told me to not go out into the cold after being in the heat. If I did that too quickly, the temperature difference would leave my face distorted to the point it would never return to its normal shape. Cuidado! Se te puede torcer la cara.
One of my favorite things to hear from grandma was the saying Sana, sana, colita de rana, si no sana hoy, sanará mañana. This is a rhyme told to kids when they get hurt. I’m talking about the kind of hurt that is a temporary hurt, like bumping your toe on the furniture corner. It seems like the end of the world until your grandmother’s hands are rubbing your pinky toe while repeating this rhyme. A few minutes of this and…