Friday, November 2, 2018
--- Pride of Place: Tools and Art in Homes ---
Laura M. Tarpill's section in "Pride of Place: New Haven Material and Visual Culture", "Tools and Art in Hispanic Homes of New Haven" emphasizes differences in material culture in the homes of people from diverse cultures, specifically Hispanic culture.
Denver is a great place for learning about other cultures - there are so many represented in the city. One thing that I quickly noticed was that there were many more statues of Mary in sections of town with predominantly Hispanic culture. A Hispanic family is more likely to be Roman Catholic than a family from, say, a Germanic background. Protestants don't tend to have images of Mary around so much.
I've also noted that Hispanic homes tend to be more colorful with pastel facades and banners and such out front. They also seem to be more likely to have vegetable gardens in a very visible part of their yards. That's changing some as other cultures are catching on to the joys of sustainable gardens.
The Hispanic families recognize different holidays and celebrations than others. The Day of the Dead is coming up and there will be a flurry of activity in Denver. The same goes for the Fifth of May.
But it's not just Hispanic cultures. People from African or Caribbean areas might be just as flashy but I've noticed that the colors tend to be bolder with more primary colors like reds, blacks, and greens. People from the southwestern parts of the United States go for a lot of color also but they tend to be earth colors with lots of reds, yellows, and browns.
These tendencies are just that. Noticing a "Hispanic appearance" in a house doesn't mean that a Hispanic family lives there. It's just that you begin noticing more color, statues of Mary, and vegetable gardens as you enter and travel into a part of Denver that has more Hispanic families.
Are there a variety of ethnic families in your town? As you walk through town, see if you can recognize differences of appearance in the houses in different neighborhoods. Are the differences related to cultures?
Are there holidays in your town that you aren't familiar with? Look into them. Often other people are welcome to participate. Sometimes museums and cultural centers will offer educational programs about them.