El Secreto

 

 El Secreto


El Secreto.
This phrase is all around us and you have probably heard it a hundred times, like I have. This term means many things to many people, but the most common definition would be "mystery." Its history is complex and unknown to everyone, and it has strayed away from the dictionary definitions of “secret” or “a mystery” due to its wide range of interpretations. One thing that can be said for certain is El Secreto does not change; it cannot be destroyed, as secrets are kept through generations as a tradition passed on with wisdom from generation to generation by one person to another. The idea of passing a secret from one generation to the next is what made this phrase even more popular than it already is. One thing that people need to know is that the word “secret” in Spanish has several meanings: "hidden," "forbidden," or "something you don't want others to know." Now, this first secret of ours will not be about what you do not want others to know, but rather about something that you must keep hidden, something that could destroy your family if it were known.
This secret has been around for generations, and many people have fought hard to keep it under wraps. Even more have tried in vain ever since then to gain access to it as well. It is a secret that is known to only a handful of people in the city, and to just one or two others who live away from it. You see, this place has been around for quite some time, so much so that all of the residents have taken on their own peculiar characteristics.
This place is called San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato.
In this land of "elote," "tamales," and "chicharrĂ³n." This place is infamous for its secrets and old generals. In this place where you may watch bull fights at the Plaza de Toros or drink tequila at Don Cuco’s Cantina. This place is not so far away from home, after all it is only a three hour drive from the northern border of Mexico. It was once a beautiful land where everyone came to seek their identity, and perhaps whether subconsciously or not everyone wanted to be a part of el secreto. This place was made famous by its colorful houses with high ceilings, low doors and the cobblestone streets that are only found in fairy tales; this place is full of artists and writers who still make their artistry with clay and paint. It is a place where old soldiers who have seen revolutions and battles of the past have come to rest. The people in this place are fiercely loyal to their "secret" and protect it with every bone in their body. It is also known for its good medicine, which will remain secret as well.
The town of San Miguel was once a beautiful place, with one of the best churches in the area and lush farms that surrounded them. It did not take long for people to travel to this land, because the roads were free and there were no customs or borders slowing anyone down. It became quickly known as the town of melon seeds, since they could be found year round by the many farmers that lived there.
This place is full of surprises, for it is in the most peaceful and quiet areas that the most shocking discoveries are made.
There are many different people in this place. There is the Raramuri man who has been known to carry a large bundle on his back and rarely speak; there is the campesino woman who wakes up at dawn and carries out any tasks at hand; there are young boys and girls that laugh with their girlfriends under the stars; there are men and women dressed in fine suits with their hands crossed behind their backs; there are also people that seem to be "de ninguna parte" (from nowhere) who wear cowboy boots and hats, which they have custom made in Guanajuato.
There are many ways to describe this place, but there is only one, which makes everyone feel free and limitless. Most importantly, there are many secrets in this place. It is said that when people move to San Miguel, they must keep two secrets: one for themselves and one for the people of San Miguel .
What Is El Secreto?
El Secreto is a phrase that was made into an idea when a small group of artists started to draw their surroundings. It was like a game of tic tac toe where each person drew three boxes in columns on large pieces of paper and placed small pictures inside the boxes. It all started with the "secretos" (secrets) found in their surroundings. Each person drew a different picture in each box, and sometimes more than one.
Since then, the practice has spread like wildfire and many people have come to know it as El Secreto.
What Is El Secreto?
El Secreto is a phrase that was made into an idea when a small group of artists started to draw their surroundings. It was like a game of tic tac toe where each person drew three boxes in columns on large pieces of paper and placed small pictures inside the boxes. It all started with the "secretos" (secrets) found in their surroundings. Each person drew a different picture in each box, and sometimes more than one.
Since then, the practice has spread like wildfire and many people have come to know it as El Secreto.
It is a practice that simply allows everyone to draw what they see. At first it began with paintings, but now many people draw other things like photos of animals or human faces. Since they are normally small and on pieces of paper no one would notice them unless they walked by, people just quietly put them in their pockets or leave them under their seat in the movies. No one wants to be seen by someone else drawing pictures on pieces of paper, so they must be hidden, or "el secreto," hidden from sight (in this case).
This practice quickly became an important part of the life of many in San Miguel, and it has even become a very important symbol in their town.
What Is El Secreto?
The name "el secreto" has often been translated as "the secret." In reality, there are two meanings that people who practice this art can take from it: the first is a physical secret (like hiding food) and the second is a solidified secret that may be hard to find because it is hidden deeply inside someone. The first kind of secret is something that you do not want others to know, while the second is something that you hid deep inside of yourself; both secrets require you to hide them from every other person in a social setting.
In the art of El Secreto, sometimes the artist will not draw anything at all. Instead, they will leave a blank space in which they will place a small object: sometimes a stone, once old money and once an old photograph. These objects are used by an artist as one of their symbols or to provide inspiration for their art.
There are many reasons why people practice this unique art: it can be because they are quiet people or maybe they just like seeing what comes out of themselves when there is no one watching; it could also be just another way to make paper with nothing more than crayons and pencils.

Conclusion
El Secreto is an interesting and peculiar practice that has made a significant impact on the people in San Miguel. There are those who participate in it and others who live it, since they know where all the good El Secretos are hidden, although they will never share them. The art of El Secreto is part of the town's history and will be told to many generations to come.


Susana Valadez Jimenez

Mrs. McHone's English Class, West High School 

March 27, 2014










"San Miguel de Allende" 
http://www.sanmiguelallende.

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