¡Buenos dias, mi amigos! ¿Que tal?
It’s a chilly, sweater-worthy Monday here in my corner of the world, and I’m extra excited for one big reason. For those of you who didn’t know, last week was the official start of Hispanic Heritage Month! *confetti*
This time of year gets me so excited. As a proud Mexicana myself, I know a thing or two about how to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, and there are so many things worth sharing from my world that could make your next two weeks spicy, exciting, and enriching.
I’ve talked about my experience being Mexican in previous posts, but in today’s post, I want to share something a little different.
As a fun way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month on the blog, I thought I’d present some of my favorite stories and songs from my culture. It’s always a fun time with Latinos, so the following material may cause the urge to dance, binge watch, or speed read.
Story: Gods of Jade and Shadow
How does one explain the beauty of this book?
I don’t think I have ever read such a stunning fairytale spun with the threads of Maya mythology, featuring a fierce Mexican Cinderella, a handsome Maya god love interest, or a more delicate slow burn Latin romance. Ladies and gentlemen, we have gods, demons, curses, and what appear to be Mesoamerican Force Dyads™ between mortal and immortal beings. Did I mention there’s also a glorious helping of Slow Burn Romance™ free of charge?
In all seriousness.
Gods of Jade and Shadow is, at its core, a Cinderella re-telling set in 1920s Mexico featuring Maya gods. It’s epic. Casiopea Tun, the story’s hero, accidentally frees Hun-Kamé (a strapping young Maya god of death) from his curse and journeys across Mexico to help him reclaim the Throne of Xibalba.
I was blown away.
I’ve talked briefly about my love of Mesoamerican history, and this book threw me over the edge fangirling. It was better than I’d hoped, and you can read my full Goodreads Review if you’re interested in checking it out for yourself. If you’re looking for some good reading this Hispanic Heritage Month, look no further.
Story: Selena (1997)
I feel like I should use the Bernie Sanders meme template for this.
I am once again asking you to watch the 1997 Selena film.
Selena Quintanilla was one of the greatest Latina stars to ever grace this earth. Her music still brings me so much joy, and she remains one of my greatest inspirations. Selena was a Mexican American girl living in Texas, and she became the lead singer in her father’s band when she was around ten years old. Eventually, she became a sensation across Mexico and America, but her life and work tragically ended at the young age of twenty-three.
The entire Mexican community (and all of the Latino communities, really) still mourn the death of Selena, because she really was such an icon, such a light, and such a role model for so many Latinos aspiring for greatness.
The 1997 film starring Jennifer Lopez is so good, and I was crying rewatching the trailer just now. This is a beautiful film about a beautiful Latina, and if you watch anything in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, let it be this one.
Story: Apocalypto (2006)
I know, I know, I know. I know what you’re going to say.
I told myself I wasn’t gonna do it.
I told myself Emily, you will NOT recommend Apocalypto.
But I did.
And, really: how can I not?
This film is genius. It shines a whole new light on Mesoamerican representation in cinema, and I’m still in awe of it. I wrote a long boi post a few months ago discussing its awesomeness (which you can certainly read HERE if you’re interested), but honestly I still have so many thoughts about this movie.
Basically, a young Maya man is captured by Maya warriors from a neighboring city, and he’s taken to their capitol to be sacrificed to the gods. He makes an escape at the last minute to return to his pregnant wife and son, and the rest is a thriller set in the Mexican jungle.
There are close to zero films about the Maya, Aztec, or Inca civilizations, and in that regard, Apocalypto is breakthrough. I’ve mentioned before how my Mexican lineage does indeed go back to the Aztecs, and Apocalypto kind of meshes Maya and Aztec cultures into one epic movie, and it’s crazy, beautiful, horrifying, and stunning.
Watch it if you haven’t yet!
Song: Perdón – David Bisbal ft. Greeicy
I’ve often described this song as “extreme apologizing but make it Latino.” I love this song so much, and if you follow me on Spotify you’ll see just how often it’s on repeat.
If you press play, you will dance. You will. There’s nothing you can do, and no one will judge you for it.
Honestly, though, anything from David Bisbal or Greeicy is always bound to be good. And I really want Greeicy’s hair. Woman has style.
Fun fact: the author’s Abuela adores David Bisbal.
Song: La Libertad – Alvaro Soler
I really do love my Spanish boi Alvaro Soler. All of his songs just hit the right notes (no pun intended). He never fails to make me want to get up and dance, so be warned before watching this video. Because . . . you will want to dance.
Correr con el viento rumbo a la libertad.
Run with the wind straight on towards freedom.
Isn’t that a bop?
If you fancy listening to more of my favorite Latino music, my Spotify playlist is down below for your pleasure! I highly recommend Lo Malo from Ana Guerra and Aitana, La Cintura from Alvaro Soler, Reggaetón Lento from my favorite Latino boy band CNCO, and of course the dreaded Soy Yo from Bomba Estéreo (which used to be a bomb song before Grub Hub ruined it with their stupid commercial).
This should be enough music to fuel your Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration. 😉
Honestly, this post has been a fun one! There are so many more movies, novels, and songs to go around and spread the joy of Latino culture.
Al Pacino’s Scarface (1983) is an honorable mention, Chico, and NO, I will not be taking criticism. 😎
So, enjoy the next two weeks of Hispanic Heritage Month, friends! Grab a couple of conchas (Mexican sweet breads), maybe some chicharrones (pork rinds), and pluck up the courage to try lengua or tripas (my favorite). I’ll let you google those terms on your own. 😂
All that to say, gracias for letting me share a bit of my Latin loves with you! I hope you’re dancing your way out of this post.