Heritage Series: My Mexican Heritage

Illustration by Bridget Rios

Natalie Morales

Contributing Writer

Growing up, I never thought much of my Mexican heritage. As a child, I did not realize what a blessing it was to have grown up the way I did. It was not until I grew older that I realized that every aspect of my heritage and culture makes my life amazing. After some pondering, I realized that my culture can be divided into four different categories: music, food, parties, and family.

Music is deeply integrated in Mexican culture, and the genres we enjoy are expansive. The music enjoyed by Mexican people ranges broadly. There is mariachi, norteño, ranchero, banda, and corridos. In my family, the most popular type of music is banda; it is the type of music that makes you want to get up and dance. 

Another big part of Mexican culture is the food. I had the opportunity to get to know this side of my culture throughout my life. On an ordinary day, my mom would make dishes such as caldo de pollo, flautas, and carne with arroz and frijoles. (For those who have not had the opportunity to try these delicious foods, caldo de pollo is a chicken stew with vegetables; flautas are fried tortillas filled with shredded chicken, and are usually topped with lettuce, cheese, and sour cream; and carne with arroz and frijoles is meat with beans and rice.) 

On special occasions, my family made tamales, pozole, and birria, among other delicious dishes. Some of my fondest childhood memories are the family gatherings at my grandparents’ house, with everyone eating together and enjoying each other’s company. My family and I did not need a special occasion or reason to gather other than the simple fact that we were alive and could share our time together. The food in my culture is much more than something we eat to appease our biological need for nutrients — the food we eat is a unifier that brings us together to enjoy the life we have.

The common association between parties and Mexican culture is definitely true! My family throws endless parties — the parties we throw are not always what people expect. They are not always crazy parties with drinking and dancing; the parties we throw are mainly gatherings in celebration of various occasions, such as birthdays, graduations, baby showers, and countless other occasions. As a culture, we have so many parties because they serve as a reminder of the beauty of life and the abundance of love we share. 

Last, but not least, we have family. This component alone is arguably the biggest part of Mexican culture. Every other aspect of my culture is centered around family. The music we listen to is enjoyed by everyone, from youngest to oldest. The food we eat is shared amongst the entire family. The parties we throw are celebrations of the different milestones and accomplishments of all family members. At the end of the day, it is not only about the parties we throw, the food we eat, or the music we listen to; it is about the people we are surrounded by. Everything in my culture leads back to family and that is why it is the main aspect of my Mexican heritage.

My heritage gave me a big, loving, and wonderful family. My heritage is my parents who worked hard to give me the life I have now. My heritage is my little sisters, who make my life brighter and always bring a smile to my face. My heritage is my millions of cousins, who each bring happiness into my life. My heritage is my countless tíos and tías, who have all contributed greatly to my upbringing. My heritage is my grandparents, who have taught me priceless lessons about life and love.

My heritage is the family I was born into, and it is my family, who has lifted me up and gifted me with the tools I need to prosper in life. It is the blood that runs through our veins, but most importantly, the love and unity we share. My heritage is the people I have had the honor and privilege of calling my family.

My heritage is the people I have had the honor and privilege of calling my family.

I would like to note that while there are many more components that make up my beautiful culture, these are the ones that strongly reflect my experience as a Mexican.