August 16th, 2012 at 5:01 am
Latinos, like many other ethnic groups, are full of cultural traditions that define who we are and where we come from. As an immigrant from Peru married to someone from Puerto Rico, my husband and I are trying to make sure that our kids grow up not only speaking our native tongue, Spanish, but also embracing our Latino heritage, with all its customs and traditions. Sometimes, however, these don’t really jive with the world we live in today and many Latinos–although proud of their roots–don’t necessarily want to pass these traditions onto their children.
Take piercing baby girls’ ears, for example. In most of Latin America, baby girls leave the hospital with their ears pierced or they get them pierced soon after they’re born. No one thinks there’s anything wrong with that and one of the gifts moms usually get are tiny gold earrings for their newborn baby girl. I have absolutely no issue with this tradition and, in fact, my mom brought my daughter’s gold baby earrings from Peru. But many people in the United States have equated piercing baby girls’ ears with mutilation, which I think is totally ludicrous.
In the States, most moms prefer to let their daughters choose when to pierce their ears rather than doing it when they’re babies and they have no say in the situation. While I respect that point of view, I think mine needs to be respected too.
On the other hand, I don’t generally subscribe to the Latino traditions of hugging and kissing everyone they meet. I mean, I’ve no problem doing it as an adult if the situation warrants it, but I don’t really feel comfortable with asking my children to do the same. Most Latinos will tell you that, growing up, we were usually “forced” to say hello to people we barely knew (our parents’ friends, for example) with a kiss. I have taught my children to be loving with our immediate family, but I don’t ask them to hug or kiss anyone else outside that circle.
What do you think?
Image credit: Ray_from_LA
Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s currently working on her first book, based on her blog, to be published in September. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.