Connecting with my culture

Rich with Mexican pride from Sonoran parents, grandparents and great grandparents, running through my Chicanx skin is the blood and sweat of the ancient Aztecs that distinguish the accent of my native  Spanish-speaking tongue when I pronounce certain words. It’s my facial features, my personality and customs.

Conectándome con mi cultura

Y de que vimos cosas tan admirables no sabiamos que decir, o si era verdad lo que por delante parecia, que por una parte en tierra habia grande ciudades, y en la laguna otras muchas, y veiamoslo todo lleno de canoas, en la calzada muchas puentes de trecho a trecho, y por delante estaba la gran ciudad de Mexico. -Bernal Diaz del Castillo

I visited Mexico City and had the opportunity to see my roots, live in my culture and learn more about my history. Within the city and its outskirts, I had the chance to visit places such as the Casa Azul (Blue House) the home of famous Mexican painters, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera in Coyoacan, Mexico. Within the house and its vividly blue painted walls lives the world that both artists called home and where famously known art was born.

The seventy-eight year old Monument to the Revolution, where the remains of revolutionary heroes such as Pancho Villa, Francisco Madero, and Plutarco Elias Calles lie, was also a sight for sore eyes. Placed within the four columns holding the monumental arcs in place, sculptures with different themes are introduced in each corner. With a feminine character holding the sword of justice introduced to symbolize the Constitution as a principle of the equality to citizens the 220-foot-high monument stands tall with pride of the Mexican people and serves as a constant reminder of their triumph over the corrupt government.

The ancient Aztec city of Tenochitlan, which is located in the heart of the city, is one of the largest historical landmarks within Mexico. Within the city’s enclosed walls from preservation are scripts that read letters from the Spanish Hernan Cortes to the King and Queen of Spain describing the Aztec empire. Bernal Diaz del Castillo, a Spaniard with also described his admiration to Tenochitlan in a letter as well. His words read, “…And within our men there were soldiers who had been many places around the world, and in Constantinople, and in all of Italy and Rome, and said a plaza so composed and with such volume and size and full with so many people they had not seen.”

“Hay bien cuarenta torres muy altas y bien obradas, que la mayor tiene cincuenta escalones para subir al cuerpo de la torre; la más principal es más alta que la torre de la iglesia mayor de Sevilla. Son tan bien laboradas, asi de cantería como de madera, que no pueden ser mejor hechas ni labradas en ninguna parte…” -Hernan Cortes Segunda carta de relación, 1522

Also beautifully structured and admired is The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a Roman Catholic church famously known for being near the hill of Tepeyac where our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Saint Juan Diego. The practice of the Catholic religion in Mexico is the second-largest, next to Brazil, with 85 percent of the population practicing Catholicism according to LiveScience.com. According to the church on top of the 136 step hill (according to my grandmother) the morning of the 9th of December of 1531, the mother of God spoke for the first time with Juan Diego. Then again on the 12th of December Juan Diego retrieved from the hill what is referred to as the miracle roses where the image of La Virgen was imprinted on his clothing by the roses.

One of the last journeys we ventured to was Chapultepec Castle, home to the battle between the United States and Mexico which capture led to the fall of Mexico City. With the defeat of Mexico came the amazing true story of six children soldiers aged 13-19 who fought until the death to protect the castle from the invading American army who are now known as Los Niño’s Heroes. Juan Escutia, un niño heroe, wrapped himself in the Mexican flag and threw himself off the castle in order to prevent the Americans from touching it. There in the castle stands sculptures of all six heroes remembered by the Mexican people.

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