(Photo via TD Bank)

Hispanic Heritage Month: A Celebration of Argentine Culture and Roots

Originally published on newscenter.td.com.

TD’s Martin Ananos, a Senior Manager, Vendor Management, based in Montreal, Quebec provides his perspective as a native Argentinian about what Hispanic Heritage Month means to him.

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you and your family?

It means thinking about our culture, celebrating our traditions and being together with friends and family. It also means time to remember our place of birth and to reflect on the effort we made as part of our immigration process and settlement in Canada.

Have you traditionally celebrated it and if so how?

We celebrate our culture every day as part of our daily lives. In our household, we speak Spanish among ourselves. We expose our kids to our music, to our culinary traditions and our language by keeping them close to our family members in Argentina. For example, my mother reads books in Spanish to my kids over Facetime chats,  and she even plays board games with them at least once a week. This not only helps them stay connected but also provides us with a “virtual nanny” even it is only for a few minutes.

What are some of the traditions that your family celebrates and values?

One of the most important traditions for us is mealtime. Two or three days per week we cook a traditional meal and tell our kids stories about how we made these same meals for ourselves growing up, the family gatherings where the meals were served and stories about their aunts, uncles, cousins and other family members. In Argentina we have at least a weekly “asado” which is similar to a BBQ. However, our “parrilla” uses wood or charcoal to cook the meat, because our meals require at least two hours of preparation. During this time, we also play cards games, tell stories and have a few drinks among friends and family.

We also celebrate our passion for soccer. Every time Argentina plays, we all wear the Argentinean jersey and cheer for our national team. This sometimes means getting together with a small group of our Argentinean friends once a week, cooking a good meal and enjoying the game together.

How is your culture different from other Hispanic or Latin American cultures and what are some of the similarities?

In my view, Latin American cultures share fantastic values of warmth, affection and passion.

We are very affectionate people. We are easy to connect with, and we create long lasting relationships and easily adapt to different cultures. We live our lives with great passion – passion in our workplace, passion when we cheer for our favorite team and/or national team, passion in our friendships and family relationships.

I would say that one difference that we have is our Spanish accent, which differs from other Latin American countries.  It is a very unique accent that people from Latin America will guess right approximately 99% of the time. While being different,  it’s sometimes is hard to guess the country of origin with other Spanish accents.

What is something you’d like to share with everyone to show how we’re all connected?

I think that the Spanish language is such a rich and wonderful language, where certain things have different meaning, depending on whom you are speaking.  The language and our culture enable us to create fantastic connections among Latin Americans. It is impressive how listening to someone speak a word of Spanish can lead to a profound conversation with anyone, anywhere, creating long lasting relationships. Due to our culture, and while living abroad, I find that we create stronger and easier connections with other Spanish speaking individuals.

What’s the most surprising thing about your culture that others may not know?

There are a couple of interesting facts that I can share.

  • In Argentina when you walk into a friendly gathering or a birthday party everyone says “hi” and kisses every single person in the room. No matter how many people and whether you know them or not.
  • The person celebrating a birthday is responsible for bringing the cake to the celebration, whether it be at work or school.  So every year, I prepare a cake to bring to my workplace, along with some plates and forks to share with everyone on my floor.

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