Día de la Raza or Hispanidad

Día de la Raza or Hispanidad by Rudy Giron

For this Día de la Raza I would like to share with you the faces of cultural resistance in a world where identity is being erased or blended, in Guatemala the Maya women represent a strong hold for the Guatemalan identity.

In Guatemala and many countries in Latin America, October 12 is a national holiday known as Día de la Raza or Day of the Race. October 12 is celebrated as Columbus Day in the United States, as Día de la Raza in many countries in the Americas, as Discovery Day in the Bahamas, as Día de la Hispanidad and Fiesta Nacional in Spain and as Día de las Américas (Day of the Americas) in Uruguay. These holidays have been celebrated unofficially since the late 18th century, and officially in various countries since the early 20th century.

So, once you know that in Guatemala the October 12 holiday is officially known as Día de la Raza and that in Spain is known as Día de la Hispanidad I found a little ironic that many people and the mass media in general in Guatemala use Día de la Hispanidad instead. This is, of course, a reflection of the Guatemalan idiosyncrasies and low self-esteem. For a country with where the indigenous or native population is the majority, many Guatemalans I know will tell you that their grandparents were pure 100% Spaniards. Another characteristic, or let’s call it a feature, of Guatemalans is how much emphasis is put on last names; like if by magic a Spanish-sounding last name could erase our mix ancestry.

© 2012, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • NYChapin

    there was not such a thing as “100% Spaniard” on the 3 boats and the same for “100% Maya” before the conquest.
    My last name is de Leòn. There is a funny story from my grandmothers side of the family that only one of my aunts talks about. There was a fire on the town’s municipalidad and many records were destroyed. The result was a new, Spanish, last name for the family.
    ” tomen el oro y vuelvan al mar”

    • Luis

      @NYChapin, I like your reference to Alux Nahual.

      • NYChapin

        thanks for noticing Luis. It was awesome to listen to Alux while still in Guate. Their words were heavy. Peace

  • Eric

    Lovely tortilla ladies can use whatever last name they want, I say. When is National Tortilla Lady Day, Rudy ? I’ll celebrate that one !

  • Begonia

    Very good last point, Rudy.

    My Guatemalan husband’s mom has a German last name and his dad had a Spanish last name. Of course he chooses to be known by his mother’s German apellido, even though most Guatemalan men would usually drop the mother’s apellido.

    However, when you look at my husband you would never guess he had an ounce of German blood. The only clue that he has any European ancestry is that he can grow a pretty good beard.

    (I should note that the ability to grow facial hair is also a mark of distinction among Guatemalan men, too!)