Fourth of July

Property of quoteko.com

Hi everyone!! This week im posting about a really important day on United States. As most of the people around the world know, the citizens of the USA are very patriotic. They love their country and that’s the reason why they make a huge party on July the 4th. Every single year in this date they celebrate their independence from Great Britain, the freedom of the whole nation. Because of that this day is also known as the Independence Day, when Americans commemorate the declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

Property of wikipedia

I remember been in this federal holiday twice. The first time was in California, on a big city called Lancaster, an hour far from Los Angeles. The host family I was with woke me up in the morning. We made a cake with the colors of the flag and we went with it to a neighbor’s house to have lunch. We spent the day in their pool, there was plenty of food. Each member of the party was supposed to bring something. We made a barbeque and ate lots of burgers and hot dogs. At 20:00 we leaved the house, the best part of the day was coming. They took me to a rodeo. We watch de show and the fireworks, something really common in this day. The second time was on the state of Texas. I was doing an exchange with a really good friend. In the morning we went to a concert in which everyone sang the hymn of United States. After that we went to a barbeque with her family and then she took me with her friends to a lake in The Woodlands, a beautiful neighborhood with a lot of vegetation. We watch the fireworks from a boat and we spend the night driving it. These are just two examples of a common 4th of July for a citizen of United States. There is a great variety of plans for this day. Some people could go to baseball games or to grillingparks but what they all do is to sing and raise their flag proudly.

Property of mothersdayimages2014.com

Advertisements

FIRE BASED ON TRADITION

Among all the different traditions and festivals that Spain has “Las Fallas” are one of the most important and famous of the country. This festival, that takes place in Valencia and lasts from the 1st of March to the 20th, completely transforms the city. Everything starts with the mascletá, a noisy display of firework that takes place every day since the first of March to the 20th on the Town Hall Square at 2p.m., then, the night of the 15th of march more than 700 fallas (gigant statues made of poliespan) are put around all the streets of the city, on the act known as plantà. This giant statues can reach up to 20 meters high and most of them are satirical representations and caricatures criticizing politicians, celebrities or expressing the most relevant events or news that had taken place through the year.

falla

Owned by Bungalows Club

However, the most important event on this festival is the cremà. On the night of the 15th of March, the whole city turns into an explosion of color and music when all the fallas, except one selected by popular vote, are burned at the same time in the street that they have been exposed in. The falla that “saves” from burning is sent to the Fallero Museum, where all the fallas that citizens have been selected through the years are exposed.

This festivity has its origins on the ancient tradition of the carpenters of the city who, the previous day of their patron (Saint Joshua), used to burn all the old and useless things on their workshops right in front of their shops or on the public squares. This tradition started to change, and, little by little the rest of the citizens started to participate putting into it their social-criticism point of view, but always on an ironic and funny way.

Edurne Larumbe

THE FLOATING HOLIDAY

Photo owned by: Iraida Bethencourt

My grandma, when she was young, dressed up for the carnaval celebrations.          Photo owned by: Iraida Bethencourt

Venezuela has many traditions and feasts but the one that is most celebrated around all of Venezuela are the ‘carnavales‘. There are many reports about this specific tradition because it is one of the few events that makes the whole country come alive. Some of those reports that cover this are Countries and Their Cultures -VenezuelaVenezuelan Culture and Discover Venezuela.

Picture owned by: Emilia Rodriguez Robles

Picture owned by: Emilia Rodriguez Robles

This feast is always celebrated in the month of february but with no specific date because it takes place forty days before Good Friday and since Easter changes every year, the date of the holiday changes also. The way it works is that people get the friday and following monday of the week off work and school. Everyone celebrates it a little different depending on where they live in Venezuela. People from cities have different events and activities than the people in the pueblos. For example, usually the people from the city leave and go to the beach that is close by whereas those from the more rural places stay in their towns. At the end of the day though, they all aim the celebration towards the same thing.

Picture owned by: Emilia Rodriguez Robles

Picture owned by: Emilia Rodriguez Robles

The festivals are extremely colorful. The country suddenly changes its look. Everything is decorated and the streets are all lit up. Then the Venezuelans themselves dress with the traditional costumes and perform many of our traditional dances. There is a lot of folk music and joropo, which is a typical Venezuelan dance. There is also dancing of salsa and merengue which are danced in any party during the year. Music and dancing has always taken a strong role in Venezuelan culture. There are also those who just go to the beach and have different events there. Since I am from the city, my family and I usually went to the beach. I remember that we had a lot of water balloon fights and sand castle competitions in which everyone competed. There are also the typical Venezuelan foods such as Arepas, cachapas, empanadas and tequeños that are served at this event. It is a time when the culture and tradition that all have inside are released in a very extroverted way. It is great to remember these things because a lot of the times when we hear about Venezuela it is bad news. It is about the corrupted government or about how dangerous it is. But we must keep in mind that even though it is a country that is struggling, there are still beautiful things within it. Despite what goes is going on in this country, the Carnavales keep being celebrated, remembering the wonderful things such an amazing country has to offer. Written by: Iraida Bethencourt Graterón

1 DE NOVIEMBRE

mini4 So many traditions; all in the same country, Guatemala. With twenty two different cultures, there are at least 70 traditions. It`s ironic that a small country like Guatemala, half the size of Mexico, has a lot of cultural diversity; No one could imagine this. So many colors, food, smells; usually the older women are the ones in charge of cooking for the town`s gathering, because for this special dates the tradition is to gather in one house or in the central 1000004_489919334436140_1574653872_npark to eat, drink and talk. The women gather and cook for everyone who`s coming, this food that they cook is the typical guatemalan food. By tipical I mean food like beans, corn tortillas, tamales, tacos, meat but specially “ El Fiambre” 1st of November is one of the most important traditions for Guatemalan culture. People also called it: “ Barriletes gigantes”, “ Dia del Fiambre”, “ Dia de los Muertos”, ” Día de los Santos” . It started because the cristians celebrate the death of their beloved ones, Guatemalan people take this really serious. It is said that bad spirits come to the cementeries during this time, sounds are heard , people get scared randomly. But the most important reason is that indian feel closer to the diseased when they put up high the kite runners, it’s a way for them to send a ” message” to the skype, something they didn’t have the opportunity to say, something they wish to send or say. A way to say good bye and let go. The kite runners became really famous in the whole country because of their size, they`re giant kite runners.  At least fifteen men have to set them up in the sky. It is an art to watch them, this tradition takes place in Sumpango, located 1 hour outside the city; cementeries are full of people, locals and touristsn it lasts around 6 hours meanwhile they finish the kite runners and set them to fly. Once they are in the sky, some judges come watch them, see which ones fly better, which ones are more creative, and also wich ones the audience like the most. and at the end of the day when the kites are left to fly away they choose one winner from them all.Barriletes-Gigantes-de-Sumpango1 After the ceremony of the kites each family goes to their home and eat the famous ” fiambre”; at first sight it might seem ugly but it is the most delicious food in Guatemala, it is one of my favorite dishes. My mother has a recepie that came all the way from her great grand-mother, and from generation to generation we have all learned to do it. It`s not only delicious but it is also real pretty with a los of colors and shaped, textures. When you have the opportunity you should not only come to watch the amazing ceremony of the kites but also to try the fiambre, and you will understand when I say that it is amazing. Fiambre-Miguelssm. By: Ana Isabel Garcia Rodas Photograph copyright © Ana Isabel Garcia Rodas.

All Souls Day!

As I said before, this blog is purposed mainly to show to you about the culture of my country, El Salvador. There is a broad amount of celebrations in El Salvador, some of them are celebrated in the whole country and some others are celebrated in some parts which are related to the celebration.
For example, there is one celebration called The San Miguel Carnival. This celebration is the festivity of San Miguel, one of the 14 departments of my country, and is only celebrated on that specific department.
On the other hand, there is one of the most important festivities in El Salvador and, in fact, is celebrated in the whole country. This festivity is called the All Souls Day, in spanish “Dia de los Santos Difuntos”, which I mentioned in my last post and I’d like to talk about it on this one.
Personally this is one of my favorite festivities in my country, and my favorites are not many. This festivity consists in visiting the graves of the deceased family in the cemeteries where they are buried, and prey for they souls. My family’s tradition is to visit the Santa Ana general cemetery. Santa Ana is another one of the 14 departments and it is a 45 minutes trip in car. After visiting all the graves and praying for all family, we have the tradition to go to my aunt’s house to have some food, and here comes one of the reasons why I like a lot this festivity, apart of being together in family, is the food, oh yes, that glorious kind of typical food you eat once a year, and it’s amazing. One of this one time a year snacks that I like the most are ojuelas. This candies are corn flakes in the form of thick rings covered in syrup, I just got hungry just thinking about them.

So, in conclusion, All Souls Day is one festivity that I like a lot between my favorites. Family, friends, delicious food, all together are the perfect combination for having a good time in El Salvador.

Fernando Gonzalez.

Join us following our official twitter accound @cotw2014 for updates and info and feel free to leave us some tweets and comments!