Students Reflect on Their Hispanic Heritage


From September 15 to October 15, Hispanic-Americans pay tribute to their native culture, history, and contributions to society. Raiders discussed how they celebrate Hispanic holidays.

On Dia De Los Muertos or Day of the Dead (Oct. 31-Nov. 2), Hispanics honor those who have passed away.

”We put up candles beside photos of our loved ones who passed away and have dinner with the whole family,” Ashley Aceves Garcia, 8th, said.

Some simply gather together.

“Sometimes we don’t celebrate it, but when we do, we visit my grandma and eat with her,” Catherine Sierra, 7th, said.

Traditionally, Thanksgiving is a time to come together and share a meal of turkey, dressing, and pumpkin pie in honor of the Pilgrims and Native Americans who made peace in 1621.

“My family celebrates Thanksgiving by going to a family member’s house for a party and eating tamales or carne asada,” Kenia Galdamez, 7th, said.

When it comes to Christmas, Hispanic people focus on the evening beforehand because celebrating the birth of Jesus is more important than waking up to presents left by Santa.

“We invite a bunch of my family over, eat tamales and pupusas, and stay up till one in the morning,” Nohemy Rivas, 9th, said.

Pupusas are made from a Salvadoran thick flatbread of cornmeal and stuffed with cheese, chicharrón, or refried beans.

“We make pozole and panes, dance all night, and go see the Christmas lights,” Catherine said.

Pozole is a Mexican stew of meat, shredded cabbage, onions, lime, and radishes. Panes are a Salvadoran sandwich with chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce.

Kenia and her family also enjoy a special meal at Christmas and New Year’s.

“We eat foods like tamales and carne asada and give each other gifts,” Kenia said. “On New Year’s, we set off fireworks, dance, and eat.”

Another big celebration is the Quinceañera, which honors a Hispanic girl’s transition from childhood to adulthood at age fifteen. The event involves a Catholic mass and then a feast and dancing at a salon.

“My dress will probably be pink or a navy blue, and I’ll probably have a variety of food like panes,” Catherine said.

Evelyn wants to travel to her home country of Mexico.

“I plan on having my quinceañera in Guanajuato,” Evelyn said. “It’s just a really big party.”

Unlike Evelyn, Kenia does not want a big party because it is so stressful to plan.

“I want it to be at my house, and I will wear my quince dress, have different kinds of food and music, and also do a traditional dance with both of my parents,” Kenia said.

These ladies have favorite Hispanic bands and dances.

“I like T3R Elemento because it makes me want to dance with my family,” Evelyn said.

Catherine prefers dancing Zapateado and listening to the band MS.

“I feel the lyrics,” Catherine said.

Nohemy likes dancing Huapango and listening to La Zenda Norteña.

“Their music makes me happy,” Nohemy said. “It’s fun to listen to when I’m with my friends.”

Ashley does not have a favorite band or dance.

“I love to dance everything,” Ashley said.