I grew up in a home that comes from a long line of curanderas. These little dark skin and mulatto women would get together one day out the weekend, at least once a month. They would sit for hours smoking cigars and taking shots and in between you would hear the whispers of prayers. They also would sing. These beautiful songs were sung acapella and had such a rich texture. The songs were fairly easy because they were repetitious and as they continued to sing it would rise in volume then they would stop and go right back into prayer. Though these women were not santeras they were healers. They made sure those that saw them always left with not only a better feeling then when they came in but leave with a bigger sense of hope. Like they taught me –Sin esperanza no hay entusiasmo de vivir!”. Without hope there is no looking forward to the next day!

The day that the ladies were coming over mommy always woke us up early. The house would smell of eggs bacon and sahumerio. She would be blasting old folk music singing as she walked around the house, with cigar in tow. Her body dancing up and down and never once the ashes from the cigar falling off. She made sure everything was clean. Each room permeated with the smell of cigar and incense.

It was these days that I loved. I enjoyed the smell of the cigar and incense of “The 3 Kings” meshed together. The scent lasted long after she cleaned. I remember feeling a sense of peace and safety. The vibe in the house was electric. It made my hairs on my arms stand. The one song I always remembered was “Que Viva Chango”. This song came on and mommy would have the front door open and she would sing about this strong protector, this beautiful warrior. I know that everyone in the building heard her. She didn’t care. She was singing to the man that she always called upon to set things straight. She was singing to invite him in so he can bring his warmth and energy to the house. I would be sitting on the couch just looking at her. Her skin would be dewy from dancing and singing but never once stopping her flow. Every catholic statue was lit and she would be praying and dancing to each of them. This was her personal time with them. For me it was a time of happy. I was young but I knew that there was a transfer of energy. It felt good to be in that atmosphere. She would end her cleaning ritual at the kitchen table. On the table she would have a white candle on and his serving of a sweet red wine. She made sure that my brother and I would stand in front of the table as she blew cigar smoke on us making sure that we were cleansed off all negative energy. She would bless us to be instilled with his strength and above all his protection. Till this day she loves him and also sings his songs, usually humming it.

Bendicion and feliz dia de Chango.


One comment

  1. bkwrita · December 15, 2015

    I absolutely loved this. So many memories in ritual.


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