Living and raising children away from where we were born doesn't mean we have to leave our Latino heritage behind. Family, food, language and festivities are what keep our cultures alive. As long as we stay together, celebrate, remember and embrace the important things from our countries, our children will adopt our traditions. As a Colombian mother raising two daughters in New York, I couldn't wait for them to say mamá, learn with "Plaza Sésamo," laugh with "El Chavo del Ocho" and enjoy an afternoon in familia with "Don Francisco."

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There are so many Latino traditions I want to introduce to my children so they can feel the same pasión I feel whenever I hear salsa. I know you have your own list, but these are the things I can't wait for my little Colombian-Americans to experience. 

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Arepas, café con leche & rice pudding 1

Arepas, café con leche & rice pudding

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When they were old enough to eat their first breakfast by themselves, I knew that arepa, rice pudding and café con leche were going to be on the menu. I still remember their faces when they had their first sip of coffee and tasted the delicious sweet rice, they loved it! Arepas are our version of “pancake Saturdays” and arroz con leche is their favorite comfort food. They simply adore it!



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Party with a piñata 2

Party with a piñata

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I still remember the rush and the excitement of trying to get candy and prizes from a piñata when I was little. I couldn’t wait for my daughters to experience that on their first birthdays. For me, it’s not a birthday party unless there is a big piñata in the room and for my daughters too!

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Christmas 3

Christmas

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I just couldn't wait to see their faces when they saw the presents El Niño Dios brought them. We keep our traditions alive on Christmas. We read the novena with friends every night until the eve of the birth of Jesus, sing villancicos navideños and make sweets. We build a manger and wait for the Three Kings to arrive in January! It's a delight and I can’t wait to do it again this year! 

Their first fútbol match 4

Their first fútbol match

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For us fútbol is passion! I couldn’t wait to take my daughters to a live soccer match in a stadium and feel the rush of the sport and I finally did it last year. I was beyond happy this year because they fully enjoyed and lived every second of the World Cup. They are becoming true soccer fans and as a South American mom, I couldn't be happier!

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First Communion 5

First Communion

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The first communion is such an exceptional day for most Latinas and as mothers we can’t wait until our kids hit that milestone. I’m certainly preparing the big day when my entire family comes together to celebrate my daughter's calling.

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Carnaval 6

Carnaval

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I can't wait for my daughters to experience carnival. It's part of our heritage and most of our countries celebrate during Lent. I want them to see the costumes, traditional dances, foods and feel the carnival spirit. It’s a national party and everybody celebrates. In the meantime, I’m teaching them to dance cumbia so when we go they’ll be all ready to party!

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Quinceañero 7

Quinceañero

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I can’t wait for the day my daughters turn fifteen and we can celebrate their quinceañeros. I’ve been secretly planning it for years! That day, they will dress like princesses, wear tiaras, dance with boys for the first time and be the center of attention. When I was a child, I dreamed about that important date and celebrated with all my friends. In the meantime, they will attend one of my friend’s quinceañero at the end of the year and I’m dying to see their faces!

Salsa Concert 8

Salsa Concert

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Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Hector Lavoe, Willie Colón and Marc Anthony…   You get my point! For most of us, salsa is something that unites us as Latinos because most of our Latin American countries dance to the rhythms. I play salsa all the time at home, but I can’t wait to bring them to a live concert so they can see people of all ages dancing and celebrating.

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Learn to cook Latin food 9

Learn to cook Latin food

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My little girls love to eat traditional foods and enjoy every bit of it. I can’t wait for them to ask me to teach them how to make their favorite dishes. We’ll have a field trip at the bodega learning about all the condiments and special ingredients. 

Visit my birth country on their own 10

Visit my birth country on their own

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I always teach my girls to love the food, music, books and traditions that represent our Colombian culture. I can’t wait for the day they choose to travel to Colombia on their own. They will have their own experiences and see things differently.