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I learn my culture from Handy Manny

I realize that while I have an ethnicity I don’t have any culture. Making the occasional arroz con gandules and understanding Sesame Street when they introduce a new Puerto Rican character does not give me culture.

Growing up I spent a lot of time with my Spanish speaking grandmother and aunts.  I can still understand them quite well I realized this past summer but I can’t speak a lick to save my life.  I went to church whose congregation was all Puerto Rican, I had friends who were Puerto Rican, I even hung out in neighborhoods that were mainly Puerto Rican but not of this seemed to affect the life that would become.

You’ve seen pictures of the kids, Shaun is a white boy; light hair, light skin, light brown eyes; he doesn’t have a clue what I mean when I say “You’re Puerto Rican”.  He asks me all the time how I know certain words when Shae is watching Dora and Handy Manny.  The other day on an episode of Handy Manny they were discussing New Years traditions and I realized we don’t have any that represent any culture or heritage.   As a child I remember going outside and clanging pots and pans together, blowing horns and singing, the whole neighborhood could be found doing this, white, black, old and young. Come to find out that this is a Puerto Rican tradition to ward of evil spirits.  On Handy Manny it was said that eating 12 grapes brings prosperity, that’s a Puerto Rican tradition also, and get this, Handy Manny is Mexican.

How do you celebrate your heritage? Do you commemorate your race or ethnicity during holidays or special occasions?