I love living in New York because the city can be impervious to certain American traditions. NYC one of the least American cities in America, and therefore some holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, can pass almost unnoticed.
There might be less people on the streets during Thanksgiving than on a regular day. But, living in the Lower East Side, I’ve gone grocery shopping on Christmas day — both in the Chinese-owned market that’s located below my apartment, and the Pakistani-run deli on the corner — only to see loads of boricua grandmas, orthodox Jews, and broke college students wandering around like they never heard of a virgin woman who possessed a self-inseminating, magical baby-sprouting vagina.
I don’t dislike Thanksgiving or Xmax. I can do without the convoluted significance of the former, and the blatant consumerism of the latter, but I’m not one to pass on any excuse to eat, drink, and mingle with others.
Still, I never visit my family during the holidays. Although they’re practicing Catholics, my parents stopped making a big deal about Santa Claus after most of my immediate family moved all over the US.
We used to celebrate navidad in a more conventional way many years ago. The last time, when I was barely a teenager, my whole family spent Christmas in our home in Jalisco. There my mother propped up a nativity scene under a sad, wilted, white plastic tree. “Santa” bought me a black BMX bike. My sister got a pink one.
But those sweet Huffy knockoffs were not enough to keep my family together — at least not during Christmas. In the ten plus years I’ve lived in New York, we tried to have one traditional Christmas, and it was a mess. We made plans to meet at my sister’s house in Oklahoma City, but flights were delayed, relatives got stranded, and the entire experience was unpleasant for everyone.
My family came up with different tradition: Meeting up in our small Mexican hometown for Día de la Candelaria (Candlemas), which is celebrated on the 2nd of February. If you’re unfamiliar with the holiday, it’s a follow up to Three King’s Day:
“In Southern and Central Mexico, and Guatemala City, Día de La Candelaria is celebrated with tamales. Tradition indicates that on 5 January, the night before Three Kings Day (the Epiphany), whoever gets one or more of the few plastic or metal dolls (originally coins) buried within the Rosca de Reyes must pay for the tamales and throw a party on Candlemas. In certain regions of Mexico, this is the day in which the baby Jesus of each household is taken up from the nativity scene and dressed up in various colorful, whimsical outfits.”
We still call each other on Christmas, and occasionally send gifts. But ignoring a chubby, gift-giving bearded man in order to praise a holy baby in drag has become a practical solution for us.
Or for me, at least, because in January airfare is a lot cheaper, I get to leave New York during the middle of the freezing winter, and I get to see kids getting their asses whipped by devils on the street:
María Rubio was so good as Catalina Creel, an iconic telenovela villain, the role ruined her career
According to sources on Twitter, and also TvNotas, the holy bible of Mexican gossip, María Rubio, the legendary actress best known for her role as Catalina Creel de Larios in Cuna de lobos, has passed away. She was 83 years old.
Thanks to her role as Soraya Montenegro in María la del Barrio, Itati Cantoral has been dominating the internet with an insane amount of memes, gifs, and even a House of Cards promo special. Itati blew up in the mid ’90s, when older millennials were still teens, and she’s that generation’s go-to character when it comes to Mexican telenovela villains.
Yes, Cantoral was great as Soraya, but the top dog in the telenovela villain game was — and has always been — María Rubio. The Tijuana-born actress was so good in Cuna de lobos that, according to an interview she did with Cristina Saralegui, the role ruined her career:
“[Catalina Creel] was a difficult, beloved character. I enjoyed playing her, but she also hurt me a lot. People completely forgot about María Rubio and now it seems that, after 40 years of being an actress, I’ve only done Catalina Creel.”
Catalina, a murderous matriarch, was known for having some of the best one-liners in telenovela history. But in the same interview with Saralegui, which was filmed over 20 years ago, María proved to be just as cunning and smart as her infamous character, but also incredibly funny:
“[Although I played a villain], I’ve received nothing but compliments, love, and admiration. Never aggression. I think viewers do attack the bad ones — bad actresses, that is.”
If you understand Spanish, check out the hilarious interview below. Watch María viciously own everyone in a panel of full of young telenovela villains:
Traumatic advice from aunt Rosa: “Don’t torture your Care Bear, Mijo. Or else.”
I was 6 years old when I yelled at Tugs, my Care Bear. I put him in time-out for not agreeing to the rules of an imaginary game I had just created.
I built a little time-out fortress for him to stay in while I played with my other toys. Coincidentally my tía Rosa was visiting that day. I urged her to see all my toys when she came into the house. I also explained to her that Tugs was in time-out, to which she replied in shock, “Mijo, mira, You have to be nice to your toys.”
I replied, “Tía, I am nice to my toys, but I’m teaching him a lesson.”
She contested nervously, “No, Mijo, you have to be nice to your toys or they might not be nice to you.”
I wasn’t following her logic.
“Mijo, if you’re not nice to your toys, then at night time they might wake up and crawl into your bed to cut your toes with tiny razors,” she said slowly while staring at my imprisoned Care Bear.
“What?!” I whispered to her while looking at Tugs from the corner of my eye.
“Yes, your toys might do very bad things to you if you don’t treat them good.”
I stared at her in disbelief.
She stood up and walked towards the doorway.
“Mijo, I brought you some tortillas. Come in the kitchen and let’s warm them up,” Rosa said casually.
From then on, Tugs sat on a tufted pillow on my dresser while I slept in velcro shoes for the next year. Growing up in my Mexican-American family meant that everything was possibly alive and watching you.