culture

Mexplaining by Morenita 04

WELCOME TO #MEXPLAINING, A SPACE WHERE MEXICANS EXPLAIN MÉXICO 

We’ll be dropping a new #Mexplanation every month via our newsletter. 

Photo @CMLL

Photo @CMLL

/ LAS LUCHAS /

When the lights go out and the reflectors illuminate their bodies dressed in tight underpants, colorful masks and exotic capes, the audience goes insane; they are witnessing the real Mexican superheroes in flesh and blood. The Luchador’s pilgrimage to the ring unleashes whistles, applause, compliments, threats and, yes, a ton of groserías (swear words) that are as part of the ritual as anything else.

Couples, families, children, groups of friends, a few tourists, the popcorn and beer vendors: everyone is ready. The audience awaits the acclaimed announcement ... "They will fight two to three falls, sin límite de tiempo! (without a time limit)” The bell rings, and the show begins!

Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

The fighters execute a duel of jumps, flights and spectacular llaves (choke holds) that sometimes expel them from the ring. This is what characterizes Mexican wrestling, a version of professional wrestling, but that includes rapid submissions and elevated acrobatics. Today, it is one of the most colorful cultural phenomena in our country, and one proudly originated in CDMX.

The first wrestling performances came in the mid-nineteenth century, at the time of the French intervention. At that time it was a foreign exhibition but, when a man named Enrique Ugartechea became known as the first fighter made in Mexico at the beginning of the 20th century, a new fury for discipline was born.

Photo @CMLL

Photo @CMLL

The characters hide their identity behind a mask, here arose the habit of betting: if a fighter loses, he has to take it off and he can never use it again. The fighters who don’t use a mask have to bet their hair.

Many have adopted names of cultural elements, such as El Santo , the most famous luchador of all, a character inspired by religious figures (“the saint”). Then there’s Alushe, a dwarf fighter who represents the Mayan elves who protect the cenotes, or underground rivers found throughout the Mayan Riviera.

El Santo Photo by La Silla Rota

El Santo Photo by La Silla Rota

The eternal battle between good and evil is divided into two historical camps: los rudos y los técnicos. The former represent the trap, the transgression of the rules, winning regardless of the means. The latter represent respect for the rules, fair play and honor.

The golden age of this sport was lived in the 1960s, when the fighters were true idols of the town. They appeared in spectacular ads, on television, were characterized as action figures and, of course, in dozens of movies. In the case of El Santo, his films won international awards and were recognized abroad for their kitsch element.

Photo Istock

Photo Istock

These days, the Mexican wrestling functions are still presented in its original setting, the Arena Mexico, located in Colonia Doctores, a downtown neighborhood. Despite the passage of time, this cultural phenomena has managed to find new niche in its audience with middle class young people or hipsters, who now think of it as an alternative for a night out on the town, sharing drinks and laughs with friends.

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#Mexplaining La Limpia

WELCOME TO #MEXPLAINING, A SPACE WHERE MEXICANS EXPLAIN MÉXICO

We’ll be dropping a new #Mexplanation every month via our newsletter.

Photo by: Camilo VanderHuck

Photo by: Camilo VanderHuck

/ LA LIMPIA /

Energetic cleansing, ritual, ceremony, healing ... the word may be different but the purpose is the same: to restore calm and protect the spirit.

La Limpia translates into “the cleanse”. This practice is a deep-rooted inheritance from our Aztec ancestors, as they believed everything in this world had a spirit. Today, it’s still commonplace for the elder - especially in rural or mainly indigenous communities - to resort to spirits and implore their intervention to obtain good harvests, produce rain, cure illnesses or to avoid misfortunes.

These pagan behaviors are seen all over the world but a common denominator is they’re usually reserved for a lower class, socioeconomically-speaking. In Mexico, on the other hand, all classes fall into these belief patterns. The wealthy, the working class, politicians, men and women of all ages: absolutely everyone, resorts to or suggests a cleanse when something goes wrong, perhaps a bad financial streak, a car accident, a sprained ankle or a divorce.

This behavior marks the difference between Mexican culture and the rest of the world, where resorting to spirits is practiced only by a lower class (again, only referring to level of education/economic wealth) as in the case of New Orleans with voodoo, Brazil with white or black magic or in some countries in Africa, where spells are still common.

When walking around Centro Historico, you’ll notice healers and shamans practicing Limpias, using various instruments to achieve the purification, protection and sanction of a patient. The body is traversed head to toe with herbs, flowers, stones, candles and incense, which serve as tools to "connect" with Mother Earth. The limpia or "cleanse" cannot be complete without the sound of drums or the snail conch, which symbolize the natural elements. You’d think this is just show for tourists but the reality is its mostly CDMX locals, on their way home from the office or whilst running errands, who stand in line waiting to get their limpia.

Photo by: Istock

Photo by: Istock

At the Zócalo, a ceremony of this kind lasts about 15 minutes & costs $1 or $2 dollars, it’s up to you how much you want to pay. Your body is now ready and blessed to continue its stay on earth free of any tragedies, setbacks or ill-wishes from others. Pretty good deal if you think about it - getting your soul purified for a buck. Only in México!

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#Mexplaining Taco Honor Code

Welcome to #Mexplaining, a space where Mexicans explain México

We’ll be dropping a new #Mexplanation every month via our newsletter.

WhatsApp Image 2019-03-03 at 15.46.49 (1).jpeg

/THE TACO HONOR CODE/

We recently spoke to Norman Perez, Director of Sake and Wine at Le Tachinomi Desu, our favorite bar in CDMX. After we finished the ‘official interview’ we kept the tape rolling as we introduced #Mexplaining to Norman and got some great ideas. Norman opened up about what he thinks is so beautiful about Mexican taco culture.

Taco culture is a specific gastronomic jewel in México. There are literally thousands of puestos or stands, ran by taqueros throughout México. Meaning you can eat tacos, morning, noon, and late night. The menu is straight forward: meat, tortilla and toppings. A little bit of acid, heat, and fat.

When at a taco stand, you'll notice no one actually takes your order. It’s a casual system, you ask for a taco de asada, uno de lengua, y uno campechano and they are handed to you. Once you’ve finished eating 3, 4 or 5 tacos, no one hands you a bill. You ask “¿cúanto fue?” (how much was it?") and the taquero simply responds “¿cúantos fueron?” (how many did you have?') You will never ever find one single person who says 2 tacos when they ate 3. Every single customer answers honestly. This is the taco honor code.

Tacos are very economical, so there’s no reason to cheat the system, but more importantly there is a univeral respect for what the taqueros do: they are an institution, they bring people together and it does’t matter who you are, we all gotta stand in line, eat with our hands, and pay the same price.

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#Mexplaining Apapacho

Introducing #Mexplaining by Morenita

The Morenita Team is made up of multi-cultural, multi-lingual, fun-loving hustlers. When you belong to multiple worlds at the same time, you develop a keen eye and ear for pointing out all the little quirks that come up as you cross between cultures. We are in essence cultural attachés, pointing out entertaining cultural codes we want to share with Morenita insiders.

That’s why we’re introducing #Mexplaining by Morenita, a fun piece of content that breaks down the nuances of Mexican culture and slang. A space where Mexicans explain México. We’ll be dropping a new #Mexplanation every month via our newsletter.


Artwork by  Renata Martínez  illustrating the meaning of  apapacho  for  cafe El Apapacho .

Artwork by Renata Martínez illustrating the meaning of apapacho for cafe El Apapacho.

/a pa pa cho/

Imagine a person speaking in a baby voice, but, not annoying. When you pronounce a-pa-pa-cho that’s usually how people sound because of the feeling it invokes. A feeling of being loved, nurtured, caressed or spoiled by your mom, best friend, your grandmother or significant other. The feeling behind the people who unconditionally take care of you, who got your back, tend to you when you’re sick, and cherish you. At its heart, apapacho is a loving, extended hug, a soulful embrace. 

We also use it as an adjective or verb:

  1. Adj. Apapachosa — In the food scene there’s a timeless awareness fo how good it feels to be taken care of. There’s endless comida apapachosa, the kind that feeds the body and soul.

  2. V. Apapachamos —At Morenita, after double confirming any reservation, we always remind our friends, the chef & maitre’d, to take extra care of our clients, to which they respond “aquí te los apapachamos” meaning “here we will tend to them with love and care”.  Sounds better in spanish right!

The Mexican Matryoshka Doll

This month has a lot of meaning for Mexico and for Morenita. September 16 marks our Independence from colonial rule. Our colorful streets get even more colorful -if you can imagine- with vendors selling flags, firecrackers and sombreros on every street corner. Wreaths cover street lights marking 1810-2018, the years of Independence from the Spanish invasion. More than one visiting friend has commented, “wow, you guys celebrate Christmas early!” confusing our patriotic colors with that of Christmas - a fair mistake. There are few other holidays in México that unite the country like El Grito. You’ve probably caught on by now, our independence is not Cinco de Mayo. And contrary to what you saw in the last James Bond movie, even Día de Muertos, which is popular depending on what Pueblo Mágico you’re in, doesn’t fill the plazas of every town in México like the September 16th celebrations.

photo source unknown

photo source unknown

September is also the birth of Morenita Experience. At this time last year I was plotting and strategizing the launch of an experience agency I knew the travel market wanted and Mexico needed. I wanted every idea, every experience, every detail to be created with intention. That intention lives and breathes life into what we do today. At Morenita Experience, we have our finger on the pulse of Mexican culture and are committed to sharing it through tailored luxury travel experiences. Anyone residing in CDMX knows you can live here for for years and still feel like you just got here. The city is so massive, there is so much to do, enjoy, explore, eat, drink and learn, where does one even begin? Morenita Experience is the insiders encounter that every traveler wants to take home. Maybe it's a service you never knew you needed, but once having “experienced”, you can’t live without.

Morenita Experience is like a Russian matryoshka doll. Once we meet and hopefully, break bread over a delicious meal, enjoy a sobremesa of tequila, mezcal or more wine, we form a bond. Conversation takes over and we introduce you to other intelligent creatives who are pushing the country and culture forward, whether it be in food, art, entertainment, etc. That person opens you up to someone else and so on and so on. It truly is the beauty of our people, the cultural connection that holds us all together through revolutions, political corruption, economic disparity: connection to culture holds us together.

It’s that intention of openness to the unknown that is taking Morenita to destinations like the wine country of Valle de Guadalupe and Ensenada, the Day of The Dead celebrations in Patzcuaro, Michoacan, or revealing the depths of the art world here in México City. This Matryoshka style of exploring is what we’re doing today; scouting locations and forging bonds with like-minded people who share our vision to move the country forward and offer one of a kind experiences to travelers.

The partners we work with share the mindset of respect and celebration of México. We are an innovative community, constantly looking onward and upward. The true north of Morenita is to share our world by inviting you into the inner circle, that unexpected last layer in the Matryoshka doll.