You Grew up Latino if You Recognize These 20 Things

Collage highlighting iconic Latino household items: a bright purple Fabuloso cleaner bottle, a "chancla" flip flop, and a classic blue jar of Vicks VapoRub

You Grew up Latino if You Recognize These 20 Things

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

If you grew up in a Latino household, there are certain universal truths that you can't help but agree with. From the mystical powers of "Vivaporu" to the joyous chaos of family gatherings that always, always, start later than planned, being part of a Latino family isn't just about shared ancestry; it's about a collection of hilarious, heartwarming, and sometimes hair-raising experiences that bind us together.

The Power of Vicks Vaporub

photograph of Vick Vaporub ointment

Better known as "Vivaporu," this powerful potion could supposedly cure everything from a headache to a broken heart. It was your abuelita's answer to all ailments. Got the flu? Vivaporu. Twisted your ankle? Vivaporu. Existential crisis? Well, you get the picture.

The Fear of La Chancla

Still from the Disney film Coco

Disney's Coco

Ah, la chancla - the infamous flip flop, often wielded by moms and abuelas, ready to fly at the speed of light to discipline a misbehaving child. It was a symbol of authority that taught you how to toe the line...pun intended.

Telenovelas as a Family Affair

You know you grew up Latino when your family's schedule revolved around the air times of their favorite telenovelas. Your abuela's tears during a dramatic episode were as gripping as the overly shocking on-screen action.

The Magic Word, "Ahorita"

meme that asks what does ahorita mean in spanish: now, later, in a bit or right now

This elusive term could mean in five minutes, five hours, or even five days. This vague time frame was somehow universally understood, but only added to the confusion of our non-Latino friends.

Sancocho Sundays (for many Latinos as this is a regional Caribbean-inspired dish)

Pot of hearty sancocho stew.

Photography by Culinaria Nativa del Tatamá

The tantalizing smell of a simmering pot of sancocho filling the house on a Sunday was the epitome of comfort and family time. It didn't matter if the weather was 100 degrees outside - sancocho was a year-round delight. If you're Mexican, substitute for caldo, pozole, or menudo.

Cascarones at Easter

Photo of colorful cascarones confetti eggs

Photography by David

The thrill of smashing what took hours of painstaking work to create beautifully decorated, confetti-filled eggs on the heads of unsuspecting cousins during Easter celebrations. The glitter aftermath? Priceless.

Living in a Novela

Latin soap opera character

Conversations with your tías could sometimes feel like you're in a telenovela, complete with dramatic plot twists, excessive hand gestures, and long pauses for effect.

El Cucuy and La Llorona

Promotional poster for "Cucuy the Boogieman"

Promotional poster for "Cucuy the Boogieman" movie

Forget the boogeyman, these legendary creatures were the ones who kept you in check during your childhood. Their tales were the classic scare tactics, cautioning you against staying out too late or not going to bed on time.

Fabuloso Everything

Photo of the Fabuloso Cleaner

Before there were fancy scented candles, there was Fabuloso. This cleaning product was the perfume of your home, leaving an undeniable smell of a clean house.

Dancing is Non-negotiable

latin couple dancing

Merengue, Salsa, Bachata, Cumbias, were probably dancing before you could walk. From family gatherings to Christmas parties, dancing wasn't just expected; it was required.

The Invasion of Tupperware

photograph of a table full of tupperware containers

Photography by James Salvas

Any large gathering meant you were going home with a random assortment of Tupperware filled with leftovers, from arroz con pollo to frijoles negros.

Blasting Music on Cleaning Day

girl twirling around room

Photo by Laura Fuhrman on Unsplash

Saturday morning cleaning sessions weren't complete without a booming soundtrack of Latin hits. The louder Marc Anthony or Marco Antonio Solis sang, the faster you mopped. And if you were trying to sleep in, the more you wondered if you'd ever be able to actually get some extra sleep on the weekend.


young latina celebrating her quincea\u00f1era

Sweet sixteen wasn't a thing. It was a grand quinceañera - a dazzling celebration of culture, family, and the journey to womanhood, or nada.

Morning Rituals with Cafecito

Coffee wasn't just a morning beverage; it was a rite of passage. Sipping on the strong, sweet elixir as a family, often accompanied by pan dulce, was an experience that shaped your mornings and energized your day.

The Power of the Sobremesa

Latin woman sitting after lunch talking

The art of lingering around the table after a meal, sharing stories, and cracking jokes. A simple dinner could easily extend into the wee hours of the night.

Being Late is On Time

Meme with funny text about being late

Arriving "fashionably late" was just a normal part of family gatherings. An invitation for 6 PM? It was universally understood that meant 7 PM or later.

No Secret is Safe

Two women telling each other secrets and gossip

News traveled faster than light in your family. Before you even got a chance to announce something, everyone already knew. The chisme express was always running. From engagements to pregnancy announcements, your family was the original social media.

The Respect for Saints and Spirits

altar of religious figures Latin house

A house full of religious icons, saints, and the ever-watchful ojo protector. Your childhood was a blend of Catholicism and ancient superstitions.

Packed Cars on Road Trips

Packed car for family trip

Photography by Mark Hodson

Family road trips weren't just for your immediate family. They also included cousins, aunts, uncles, and sometimes even neighbors. And don’t forget, everyone always brought enough food to feed a small village and hand-me-downs to give away.

Love is Louder

A Latinx Family gathered around

Above all, the loudness wasn't just about volume. It was about passion, vibrancy, and love. From booming laughter to fiery debates, everything was done full-heartedly.

Here's to the loving chaos, the unforgettable memories, and the strong sense of community and tradition that is growing up Latino.

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