When it comes to passing on her Hispanic heritage to her children and grandchildren, Chelsea native Marta Rosa said she and her family take a very intentional approach.
Her grandchildren know about Christmas, but they also know about Three Kings Day – a traditional after-Christmas celebration on Jan. 6th that’s common in Hispanic countries – and it’s because Rosa and her husband have made sure of it.
Coming to Chelsea from Puerto Rico when she was 9 some four decades ago, like many Hispanic people who immigrated here, Rosa has claimed the area as her home. Now living in Revere on the Parkway, she still has roots that run deep across the city lines.
“I came with my mom – a single mom – when I was young and I did not want to come at all,” she said. “We lived on Everett Avenue before the great fire. Now, though, this is absolutely my place and I worked really hard as a young person, as a young adult and as an adult to make this my place. I consider Revere and Chelsea my home.”
And like many Hispanic residents in the area, whether here 40 years or 10 years, making this area their home can put their own culture a little further away and a little less prominent, especially for their children who are steeped in American culture.
That is precisely why Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 to Oct. 15) has taken a much larger role in the last few years and has become a very deliberate exercise in celebrating Hispanic cultures from around the globe.
Rosa agreed with that and said one key in her life has been intentionality – or doing things very deliberately. She and her husband, Tito Rosa, make a point of teaching their children and grandchildren about the culture so it is not lost or diluted.
“My granddaughter here understands some Spanish, but doesn’t speak it, but my grandmother in Puerto Rico only speaks Spanish,” said Rosa. “At some point my granddaughter will want to know Spanish and speak it. We keep the tradition alive very intentionally. We celebrate Three Kings Day and celebrate family. We do that and talk about traditions in the household…My granddaughter goes outside and gets grass clippings to put under her bed in a shoe box so the Three Kings will leave gifts. She knows about these traditions and the Puerto Rican traditions. It has to be intentional in teaching them about knowing family traditions and family ways and making sure the younger generation knows.”