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Cultúrame™ Blog

Cultúrame Golf Classic
Published: 10/1/2013 Read and Add Comments

It’s been a delight to sponsor the Cultúrame Golf Classic Championship Tournament for the women’s golf team at George Fox University in Portland, Oregon for the past four years! 



Frijoles!!
Published: 3/1/2012 Read and Add Comments

Frijoles or Habichuelas, as they are called in Puerto Rico, are a basic food staple in most Latin American countries.  Beans were an important source of protein throughout Old and New World history, and still are today with the increase in vegetarian diets. 

Frijoles Negros are the most popular in Cuba where it is served with yellow rice and accompanied with sweet plaintains.  In Puerto Rico I grew up eating habichuelas with arroz con pollo and tostones (green crispy fried plaintains). In Mexico pinto beans are smashed into refried beans and served as an accompaniment or rolled into a tortilla to form a bean burrito.  In Ecuador as photographed here, these red beans will prepared into a vegetarian stew.

In whichever form, beans are one of Latin America’s comfort foods cooked with wonderful spices and made to be eaten with a hearty appetite! Frijoles.1.jpg


Espíritu de la Navidad
Published: 12/5/2011 Read and Add Comments

While strolling along a small village in Costa Rica called Puerto Jimenez, during the month of December, it was enchanting to see that no matter how small, simple or elaborate the façade of a house, most houses were decorated with colorful Christmas ornaments.  This was not surprising, as Latinos are very festive and love to share El Espíritu de La Navidad.  Fiestas are plentiful and homes are ornately decorated as an invitation for friends and neighbors to come and share the holidays. 

The house on this photograph was striking, as the contrast was significant. At once it is joyful, with the vibrant Christmas decorations and yet it lacks vitality with its door and wooden window tightly shut.  It served as an inspiration and a reminder that no matter how dismal things may seem, a little decoration and sharing of Navidades can bring smiles and joy, as it did to me!

Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo

 

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Sanctuario
Published: 11/3/2011 Read and Add Comments

There are all sorts of sanctuaries in Latin America.  Churches are the most prevalent but there are many small neighborhood makeshift sanctuaries where people go to pray, seek comfort or find support.  The sanctuaries are decorated with saints, burning candles, which are lit up in memory of a loved one or a prayer, and there are healers or people from the community who are present to provide spiritual guidance.  This particular sanctuary, as photographed here, is in Guatemala.  It is El Sanctuario de San Simón, a pagan saint of the people, who is known for guiding travelers safely through their travels.

I also selected this photo for the month of November as it honors Mexico’s festive holiday, El Día de los Muertos, in which people who have died are honored by their loved ones.  Many visit sanctuarios, light up candles, pray and honor the deceased.

The glow of burning candles is very soothing and in sanctuarios it’s a sign of hope, love, and spirituality.  Share this wonderful message by giving this original photograph in the form of a greeting card through Culturame.com.

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El Cantante
Published: 10/2/2011 Read and Add Comments

Women enchanted by a man singing sweet Spanish love songs with his guitar is a common scene at the many festivals that celebrate culture and traditions of Latin America. In Otavalo, Ecuador, which is located in the Northern Sierra of Ecuador the women and men dress in traditional costume to celebrate summer solstice at the Inti Raymi or “party of the sun and harvest” festival which is when the earth offers all of it’s fruits after the Andean agricultural cycle ends one of its phases. It’s a time of reunion with the family, community, and more importantly Mother Earth. 

The Fiestas Patronales, in which each town celebrates its patron saint, in Puerto Rico take place throughout the year. The festivals are full of color, music, live entertainment, and traditions that often go on for various days or weeks as people enjoy the festivities at their town’s plaza or neighboring towns. 

Festivals are also prevalent in Mexico throughout the year. It seems as if Mexico and all Latin American countries look for just about any reason to celebrate; a local saint’s day, a historic event, or even vegetables can provide good reasons for a celebration. Be sure to visit many of the local Latino festivals in your community. 

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El Chico y La Chica
Published: 9/1/2011 Read and Add Comments

Since September is a month for new beginnings, I chose this photo taken in Taxco, Mexico for Hispanic Culture Online photo contribution this month because it represents an interesting contrast of the old and the new.   The young man carries sacks of oranges on his back  -  a traditional image of labor.   The girl sits leisurely holding a cell phone wearing jeans, athletic shorts, and a floral top – a modern cultural image.   Both reveal what was then and what is now - a testament as to how technology may infiltrate culture, but some things don’t ever change.

What does remain constant is the attraction between boy and girl.  Will the traditional boy and the fashionably tech savvy girl get together? It is likely the opposites will merge and adapt to the new while retaining their old.   That’s the beauty of our world today – we are able to embrace the new while holding onto our cultural traditions and identities. BoyLookingatGirl_DPI50.jpg


¡Caliente!
Published: 8/8/2011 Read and Add Comments

It’s a steamy hot summer in much of the USA and there is no better way to cool off than with a “Piragua!”  That’s what we call these shaved ice treats in Puerto Rico.  In Cuba they are “Granizados”.  In the Dominican Republic, “Frío, Frío.”   In Mexico,  Colombia and Panama they are called, “Raspados.”  In Bolivia, “Shikashika.”   In Chile, “Mermelada con Hielo.”   In Venezuela, “Cepillados” and in Peru “Cremolada.”

You’ll find vendors of these delicious treats, with colorful pushcarts, standing near parks and street corners in Latino neighborhoods. You’ll be sure to savor this refreshing treat even before it touches your lips, as the vendor scrapes off the ice, places it on a paper cone, and pours your favorite fruit flavored syrup over the ice!  Ay, qué rico!

This is a delicious multicultural summer treat with many countries where it’s hot and fruits are plentiful enjoying their own version of this frozen dessert.  “Halo halo” is what they call it in the Philippines.  “Shave Ice” in Hawaii. “Kakigori” in Japan and “Ice kacang” in Malayasia.

At Cultúrame™ we honor this multicultural treat with a bilingual card to encourage friends and loved ones to enjoy and share the sweet pleasures of the day! Piragua.DPI40.2.jpg


Latina Beauties
Published: 7/7/2011 Read and Add Comments

With the summer upon us, and the passing of our recent Fourth of July celebrations, I am inspired to share this photo of two beauty queens at the Puerto Rican Day Parade.  It brings back memories of my days as a Teen “Queen of Naguabo” at the 1970 Puerto Rican Day Parade.  I remember sitting on top of a beautifully decorated float waving at the cheering crowds enthusiastically celebrating our Puerto Rican heritage – it was a wonderful moment in which I felt connected to mi cultura y gente!  

For the many Latinos who participate in parades, representing their country of origin and sharing their customs and culture throughout the United States, it’s also a way to honor their homeland. There are over one hundred Latino parades and festivals in the New York area alone.   Aledia in her website, http://www.aleida.net/parades-2011-en.html, lists a calendar of events with photos that are filled with color, ornate costumes, and rituals by the diverse cultures of Latin America. 

The increasing amount of cultural parades is a testament to the need for individual cultural identity and community.  Reach out to your Latina Mami, Prima, Hermana o Amiga with this Cultúrame™ card and let them know you share your Latino pride but more importantly let them know they are princesses in your eyes. LatinaBeauties_40DPI.2.jpg


Wisdom y Sabiduría
Published: 6/6/2011 Read and Add Comments

Latin culture traditionally has been a patriarchal society with the man as the dominant family figure.  This, of course, is rapidly changing with women increasingly becoming the head of households, but on this month’s photo contribution, I would like step back for a moment and recognize and honor Nuestros Viejos (our old men) who are often wise with lots of Sabiduría (wisdom).  

This photo, taken in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, simply reveals the weathered hands of an elder man, his dashing sombrero, well appointed cuffed pants and shiny black shoes.  You need not see anymore of his persona to know this man is a caballero!  His relaxed stance conveys confidence, maturity, and a reassurance that his life’s lessons are plentiful.  He surely has many a story to tell.  Stories we can learn from and admire. 

The photograph is part of the Fotografía America Latina Collection, which is attached to a Cultúrame Bilingual greeting card.  The sentiment inside reads as follows:

“¡Oye, mi Viejo!  Gracias for being who you are y presente when I need you most. Wishing you a beautiful day.  Con Mucho Cariño.”

This is the perfect gift for that special Viejo in your life.   Man_with_HatDPI50.jpg


Cultúrame Sponsors Mental Health Wellness Event
Published: 5/25/2011 Read and Add Comments

Cultúrame was the proud sponsor of the Mental Health Association of Westchester's MHA On The Move 5K Run/Walk Event on May 15, 2011 held at Purchase College, SUNY. OTM2011.DPI50.jpg
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