Let’s get away from it all and go dancing south of the border!
La raspa is a popular dance from Mexico, often taught to children in the United States. When I was a little girl, I knew it as “The Mexican Hat Dance”:
Santa Rita is a couples dance from Mexico strongly influenced by the European polka. It originated in the state of Chihuahua and crossed the border into southern Texas:
Chilili is from Bolivia and Peru. We do this dance at Phoenix International Folk Dancers:
Carnevalito is an easy dance from Bolivia, a favorite of Orff instructors (elementary general music teachers will know what I’m talking about):
Fado Blanquito may have originated in Portugal; it is also danced in Brazil:
We have done Flor Amarosa from Brazil at Phoenix International Folk Dancers:
Agradacer y abraçar means “thank and embrace.” It’s an easy circle dance from Brazil:
Circular is a three-pattern dance from Brazil. The first pattern is a grapevine; the second is a samba; and the third is improvisation:
São como os meus, olhos teus is a sacred circle dance from Brazil:
Here are some dancers in Cartagena doing a traditional Colombian dance (I’m sorry—I don’t know the name, but I like the costumes and the drums):
On Tuesday, my husband’s podiatrist told us she got her flu shot. Somehow, that fills me with hope for 2021. So do these awesome articles:
- This one made me cry. The video is too echo-y. Scroll down and read the essay.
- Writer’s playlist.
- When we can travel again, maybe we can go to Mexico.
- This article from 2018 may help you set your creative goals for 2021.
- 12-year-old Jesus didn’t have all the answers.
- Interesting shots.
- Everything I know about physicist Richard Feynman I learned from watching The Big Bang Theory. I didn’t know he liked to draw.
- Good advice. And some not as good. And some I don’t understand.
- These signs made me laugh.
- There are reasons why you shouldn’t drive drunk, and there are reasons why you shouldn’t sing drunk. But they’re not the same reasons. Apparently, singing drunk is great fun, and nobody dies. Read about the Australian Pub Choir.
- A quilter shares the 17 quilts she made in 2020.
- This is an interesting idea: praying with index cards.
When we first moved to the Southwest, I got freaked out by the colorful skulls that appeared everywhere starting in September. I thought it must be some sort of Mexican version of Halloween. I now know it’s much deeper than that.
Day of the Dead has its roots in the Aztec culture. After the Spanish conquest, the remembrance of loved ones who had passed on became associated with the Roman Catholic celebration of All Souls Day, November 2.
The colorful skulls, or calaveras, (the ones pictured above are from the PeyotePeople shop on Etsy) are not meant to be spooky, but joyful, as the celebrations are full of family stories and jokes and poignant memories of the courage and unique personalities of their ancestors. In Mexico, families visit cemeteries to pay their respects, eat, drink, and dance to the music of mariachi bands.
Photo by Steve Bridger
In the United States, the Hispanic community is more likely to conduct remembrances in their homes, near an altar bearing photographs of the deceased. Offerings of food are placed on the altar, to nourish the spirits, whom they believe return to their loved ones for a single day to be close by and protect them from evil. The altars are decorated with marigolds, with cut-paper banners (papel picado), with brightly colored skeletal figures, and with sugar skulls, a confection made in the calavera shape. People and especially children may also have their faces painted with colorful designs. (Click on the images below to enlarge and to see credits.)
Photo by Chuchomotas
Photo by Chuchomotas
Sugar skulls; photo by Cristina Zapata Perez
Would you like to see more calaveras? Click here.