Relationship: Child of im/migrant

In Cuba, the Baptism is an important celebration. It’s the first sacrament in the Roman Catholic religion when a child’s admitted into the church. The godparents (or padrinos) are responsible for holding the baby during the ceremony and buying the child’s christening gown and candle. The gown plays an important role. It’s traditionally white to symbolize the child’s purity and God’s love. 
My father was born in Cuba six years after Fidel Castro was in control. The socialist government took away peoples liberties and their property. Because of the economic policies instituted and the US embargo of Cuba, many people became poor. My father’s godfather didn’t have the money, so the entire family saved and sacrificed to buy the gown. The gown is supposed to be worn once, but they used it a year later for his sister.   In 1969, my family went to Spain and could only take one suitcase. They had to make difficult decisions to decide what they would need. The one thing my grandma brought to Spain that was not a necessity was the christening gown. My aunt that was born in Spain was also baptized in it.    Four years later, my family received a VISA to come to the U.S. My grandma left behind many things but kept the gown. Since then, my cousins, sister, and I were christened in that gown. This picture of my father wearing the gown is almost as old as the dress but shows it when it was new. I’m not sure if I will get to keep the gown, but this photograph is the best way to preserve its story.

Place(s): Cuba,Spain
Year: 1973

– Ariane Marchese

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant