It’s a worldwide need to feel like we’re part of a community, a “monchu” as Chris Brogan says. He explains that the word “Monchu” is an Okinawan word that means “one family” or sometimes “extended family” or even “the family we choose.” And it made me think about how this idea is expressed in the Latino culture. Why is that?
From a Latino cultural perspective, I see five main reasons that we need to feel that we’re part of a monchu – to be part of a familia:
- Love. Many of us are used to living among a big family – many times in our own homes. It’s common to have several generations living under one roof. Grandparents, parents, children. My grandmother lived with us when I was growing up, and she was like a second mother to me. I felt so loved!
- Religion. Religion is a big part of the Latino family culture. “The family that prays together, stays together.” La comunidad Latina has many activities around faith, from attending Sunday service, to fellowship after service, to weddings, birthdays, and funerals. These are big family gatherings and when there is a big family, you might see the extended family 2 to 4 times a month! Memories of these gatherings bring a warm feeling to me!
- Finances/Resources. La familia will help each other out financially. Whenever there is a financial issue, if a family member can help out – they will. If someone wants to start a business, family will do everything they can to support them – from financial help to helping out at the store, to help with for bottling the family sauce.
- Food. And then there’s the food. Imagine the delicious comida – homey comfort food – that we made together and enjoyed together. Everything from paella, arroz con pollo, locro de papa, llapingachos, bajo, nacatamales, empanadas, arroz y frijoles y asado.
- Music. And of course, music. Music is a big part of the Latino community and network. You will always hear music at the family gatherings and there will be plenty of dancing. Maybe the family will be lucky enough to have musicians among them, like mine did. My mother was a musician and she lived for singing Latin music while playing the guitar or piano. Or else someone’s Latin playlist will be on with everything from salsa, bachata, merengue, tango, regaetton, bossa nova, and Latin jazz, to name a few!
As Jane Howard says, “Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. “ Let’s embrace the warmth of monchu! What are the top five for your family?