Ojo: The "Cholo Word Of The Day" is simply for fun. This is not an academic exercise, therefore I do not spend much time checking for espelling or grammatical errors. Most of the words are not only used by "cholos," but by many people in S. Texas - and their usage can vary. c/s

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

La Mano - Santito

Older people are usually much wiser than me (except for ex-bosses, of course). I have always shown my respect for older people by calling them, señor, señora, sir, ma’am, mr., mrs., don, doña, usted, - lo que sea. Bueno, pues, I thought that was showing chingos of respect until I saw my cousins doing their Santito bit.

My primos have been doing this since I was a kid. Before going to bed they go up to all of my aunts, uncles, grandparents, and other older relatives and say, “la mano.” They are asking for a person’s hand, so that they can kiss, before going to bed. In return, the adult says, “Santito” and touches their head, does the sign of the cross over them, or just wishes them a good night.

I was at my grandmother’s house this summer and I noticed my primo Marin doing this. Marin is a big, strong, cholo-looking, 24-year old California chicano with a wife and a young daughter. He went up to my grandmother, aunts, and my mom, and asked for “la mano.” I was amazed that he still does this. Everyone obliged of course.

I never did this as a kid and neither did most of my other cousins. My Tio Juan’s and Tio Rafa’s kids were probably the only kids who did this. It’s a practice still common in El Refugio.

I asked my aunt and my mom about this custom – after twenty some odd years of seeing it done – and they told me they never really thought it necessary. In fact, they rebelled against it, when they were kids, because my grandmother wanted them to ask their oldest brother (My Tio Rafa), for “la mano.” You can imagine why young girls would rebel against having to ask their older brother for a blessing.

I usually say “Buenas noches” or “Hasta mañana” when I’m heading to bed, but I must admit, it’s probably pretty nice to ask for a blessing before going to bed.


Blogger Elenamary said...

mi'jo, que Dios y la Virgen te bendigan y que duermas bien, en el nombre del padre, el hijo, el espirtu santo amen.

6:33 PM

Blogger cindylu said...

i've never seen anyone do that, but my family always prayed together before we were sent to bed. the family that prays together, stays together! oh yeah, thanks for the attention.

1:47 PM

Blogger Frederick's Mom said...

Hey this site is awesome! Visit mine at momma03.diaryland.com. Seems like you already did! I am an English major, but boy do I have grammatical probs! Dealing with the Spanglish speaking Valley I think you would understand!LOL

6:41 PM

Blogger bunny said...

Unbelievable. You live in my town and I found your blog through Killy in VA? I am so linking you. Okay, my linking runs a few weeks late but maybe I'll do it tonight.

7:01 PM

Blogger xicano said...

What are your thoughts on ethnocentrism?

7:29 AM

Blogger oso said...

"Older people are usually much wiser than me"

Computers obviously require no wisdom.

I can't say I've ever seen the besando de la mano, but doing some googling, I though it was interesting that there is some statue of la virgen llorando called Besamanos.

9:24 PM

Blogger Aleksu said...

Cholo, I saw this practice when I visited my mom's family in the little town of San Jeronimito in the Guerrero coast.

It is nice when some traditions trascend time and geographic barriers.

7:33 AM


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