Culture

11 Ways To Decorate You Holiday Table With Latino-Themed Decorations That Don’t Break The Bank

The holidays either bring out the worst in people or the very best. There’s the stress of finding the perfect gifts, planning and hosting parties, and the idea of traveling to visit family during the craziest time to travel.

If you keep in mind, however, that the holiday season is meant to be with loved ones and celebrate all of your blessings, then it will put everything in perspective. Besides, holiday stress can easily be fixed with some fine tequila.

If you’re hosting any holiday event this season and you’d like to spruce it up by doing away with the basic Christmas or New Year’s Eve decoration, you can easily glam it up in a Latino-themed style. Why Latino-themed? Because velas, piñatas, and Frida instantly make people happy.

Here are some ideas for your holiday table that will make your guests ooh and ahh, no doubt.

Use any Latin-brand can as a vase.

CREDIT: Pinterest

We already recycle cans and jars thanks to our abuelas teaching us to. Use those cans and create a unique table setting by adding an eclectic array of your favorite canned Latin goods and using them as vases. The table will instantly have a pop of color and your guests might feel some nostalgia seeing the various cans from their childhoods.

Papel picado as mistletoe.

CREDIT: Love and Cupcakes

Convert any typical holiday decor, like mistletoe, with colorful papel picado. You can hang them around, and also place them bunched together at the center of each table. It’s a colorful and unexpected way to change things up with just a little bit of effort.

Red hot chili wreaths and/or candle holders.

CREDIT: Wind and Weather

If you’re not interested in buying dozens upon dozens of red chili peppers to decorate, you can buy fake ones pretty easily. These might look like a little too much but everyone will remember the amazing way you used chili peppers for your holiday decor.

Ribbons and flowers in the colors of your flag.

CREDIT: Pinterest

Being Mexican makes this one super easy since the color scheme is the same but you can always add some ribbons to your poinsettias. Give your guests and familia a little something special with the colors of your family’s flag all over the place.

A sarape table cloth.

CREDIT: Pinterest

By replacing a random tablecloth with a sarape, you can quickly transform the vibe from a boring holiday party to a poppin’ fiesta. Simple. Cheap. Cultural.

Extra sarape material? Use it as stocking name cards.

CREDIT: Instagram

Cut a stocking pattern on cardboard or poster board and wrapping it with sarape material. Then write people’s names on the white portion, and bam! Instant name cards.

Create festive cornhusks for coasters, candle holders and/or wreaths.

CREDIT: Instagram

Click here for a YouTube tutorial that shows how to make these cute cornhusk decorations. Just remember to wrap your color ribbon as well. There is something so special about seeing handmade decorations.

Nacimiento centerpieces are guaranteed to please.

CREDIT: Instagram

This particular centerpiece may seem a little complicated but it’s just an example of how to craft any sort of arrangement. This nacimiento can easily be recreated at your local Color Me Mine. You can also get an inexpensive basket and put your nativity scene inside and place them as centerpieces, this way people can take them home!

Concha coasters or ornaments.

CREDIT: Instagram

These conchas, made out of felt (which you can get at your local craft store), can be created to use as coasters! For an extra flair use glitter to make them more festive.

A bottle of tequila, a couple of poinsettias, and a sarape runner.

CREDIT: Instagram

This table setting looks stunning and can be easily replicated. Aside from the bottle of tequila, which you’ll need anyway, and the poinsettias, you can add your favorite Latin candy, candles, and a Latin-themed runner.

La Virgen de Guadalupe velas and mini-candles.

CREDIT: Instagram

The table setting above may look like it’s ready to celebrate Day of the Dead, but it can certainly work for the holidays. All you have to do is replace the orange flowers, with red roses, or poinsettias. Then adorn the center of the table with Virgen de Guadalupe velas that you can get at the grocery store or just click here.

Good luck, and happy holidays!


READ: Texas Family Puts On Holiday Show With 100,000 Lights And Music By Selena And ‘Coco’

Share this story with all of your friends by tapping that little share button below!

From Churros To Buñuelos And Atole— 12 Latino Comfort Desserts To Get You Through This Weird Quarantine Season

Culture

From Churros To Buñuelos And Atole— 12 Latino Comfort Desserts To Get You Through This Weird Quarantine Season

josie_delights / guatemala / Instagram

Updated on May 13, 2020, originally published on November 20, 2019.

Sure, it’s summertime but there’s nothing wrong with tapping into the holiday season for some good o’l comfort food. Especially these days. Latinos don’t settle for just one dessert option, we have plenty to choose from and you best believe a few tías will bring different ones. From pastel de tres leches to churros and all the drinks that go with them, there are some wonderful treats in store. Yes, more often than not, a good cafecito will pair up perfectly with your postre, but how about a Mexican ponche? Or a Guatemalan Atol? We rounded up our fave cold-weather desserts for the summer that every Latino should whip up for quarantine!

1. Alfajores

Credit: nosjuntapaula / Instagram

These soft, delicate and buttery cookies are held together by the addicting caramel sauce, an elixir of the gods; dulce de leche. This option goes perfectly with a good old cafecito and chisme. That sobremesa is sure to get lit with all that sugar pumping up the tías and abuelitas. 

2. Arroz con leche

Credit: aliceesmeralda / Instagram

A foolproof winter classic. Arroz con leche is the ultimate Latino comfort dessert any time of year tbh. Try it calientito with a good amount of cinnamon and raisins. Provecho!

3. Buñuelos —Colombianos and Mexicanos

Credit: nachoecia / Instagram

The Colombian iteration isn’t quite a sweet treat as it’s filled with cheese, but the addition of brown sugar, butter and tapioca make it a dessert in our book. As for the Mexican version, they’re usually made during the winter holidays. Mexican Buñuelos are made of fried dough, covered in cinnamon sugar and if you’re not about fried dough covered in cinnamon sugar, idk what to tell you, there’s something wrong going on.  

4. Chocoflan

Credit: dolchecakes / Instagram

Also known in Mexico as ‘Impossible Cake’, this delicious mass of goodness combines two great things into one god-sent hybrid. If you love flan, but would also like to have a slice of chocolate cake, Latina moms everywhere say; “¿Por qué no los dos?” The rich dense chocolate, topped with creamy vanilla flan, drizzled with a thick layer of cajeta is, quite literally, what dessert dreams are made of. 

5. Churros

Credit: blizzdesserts / Instagram

There’s something so satisfying when biting into a warm, doughy, crunchy and sugary churro. You can find these delicious treats all over Latin America, and they’re particularly yummy when paired with a cup of hot chocolate! Extra points if you stuff them with cajeta or chocolate. 

6. Flan

Credit: silvanacocinando / Instagram

Almost every Latin American household will have its own version of flan. From Puerto Rico to Costa Rica and everywhere in between, Latinos love flan. The creamy vanilla-flavored concoction is basically irresistible. 

7. Natilla Colombiana

Credit: josie_delights / Instagram

This Colombian custard dessert is very traditional during Christmas, but we like to think that it’s also good at any time of the year. Natilla is a rich, custard-like dessert traditionally served alongside the deep-fried cheese buñuelos we told you about earlier. You’ll definitely have to forget about la dieta if you want to have this option. 

8. Suspiro de Limeña

Credit: rodolfo1913 / Instagram

Its name literally translates to “Sigh of the lady from Lima.” This Peruvian dessert is definitely sigh-inducing. The creamy, caramel-like custard, topped with a Port flavored meringue is an extra sweet treat for this cold season. The dessert originated in the city of Lima, and it is said that it gained its name after a poet said it tasted soft and sweet, like the sigh of a woman.

9. Pastel de Tres leches 

Credit: tallerdenoemi / Instagrm

This quintessentially Latino cake is made with three types of milk: evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and whole milk. This is definitely not for the lactose intolerant. The cake soaks up all these liquids, making it a super decadent treat. If you’ve never had this traditional Latino dessert, prepared to be delighted, and have the coffee pot a-ready. 

10. Ponche Navideño

Credit: mexicoinmykitchen / Instagram

Traditional Mexican fruit punch is a hot, delicious concoction. Made with more than ten fruits including apple, tamarind, jamaica, tejocotes, raisins. This punch is spiced with cinnamon, clove, and piloncillo. It’s basically Christmas in a cup.

11. Camotes en dulce 

Credit: aprilxcruz / Instagram

Mexican candied sweet potatoes are a must. Día de los Muertos, on Nov. 1, marks the beginning of Camote season. ‘Camotes Enmielados’ is made of sweet potatoes, simmered in a cinnamon and piloncillo syrup. This dish makes for the perfect fall treat. 

12. Guatemalan Atol

Credit: guatemala / Instagram

Made of ground corn, the flavors of this drink range from cinnamon to black beans to chocolate to cajeta. Guatemalan Atol, or Atole in Mexico, is a drink made differently in many countries of Latin America, but there’s one thing that remains the same everywhere, and that is that it’s a fall-winter staple you can’t miss out on.

Does Anybody Really Know What’s Supposed To Happen After You Get The Baby Jesus Figurine In La Rosca De Reyes?

Culture

Does Anybody Really Know What’s Supposed To Happen After You Get The Baby Jesus Figurine In La Rosca De Reyes?

alejandro.munoz.p / Instagram

Remember Día de Reyes when everyone cuts the rosca and hopes to god not to get the little niño Jesus? If you grew up Mexican, you probably know that whoever gets the baby Jesus figurine owes everyone tamales. But when is the tamal party? And most importantly—why? Keep reading to find out what El Día de la Candelaria means, what your abuelitas and tías are actually celebrating and how it originated —spoiler alert: it’s colonization.

February 2nd may be Groundhog Day in the United States, but in Mexico, and for many Latinos outside of Mexico, there is a completely different celebration on this date.

The religious holiday is known as Día de la Candelaria (or Candlemas in English). And on this day of the year, people get together with family and friends to eat tamales, as a continuation of the festivities of Three Kings’ Day on January 6. 

This is why your abuelita dresses up her niño Jesús in extravagant outfits.

For Día de la Candelaria it’s customary for celebrants to dress up figures of the Christ Child in special outfits and take them to the church to be blessed. Día de la Candelaria is traditionally a religious and family celebration, but in some places, such as Tlacotalpan, in the state of Veracruz, it is a major fiesta with fairs and parades.

February 2nd is exactly forty days after Christmas and is celebrated by the Catholic church as the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin.

Alternatively, this day also counts as the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. The origin of this religious feast day comes from ancient Jewish tradition. According to Jewish law, a woman was considered unclean for 40 days after giving birth, and it was customary to bring a baby to the temple after that period of time had passed. So the idea is that Mary and Joseph would have taken Jesus to the temple to be blessed on February second, forty days after his birth on December 25.

The tradition goes back to around the 11th Century in Europe.

People typically took candles to the church to be blessed as part of the celebration. This tradition was based on the biblical passage of Luke 2:22-39 which recounts how when Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple, a particularly devout man named Simeon embraced the child and prayed the Canticle of Simeon: “Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace; Because my eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” The reference to the light inspired the celebration of the blessing of the candles.

In Mexico Día de la Candelaria is a follow-up to the festivities of Three Kings Day on January 6th.

On Día De Reyes, when children receive gifts, families and friends gather together to eat Rosca de Reyes, a special sweet bread with figurines of a baby (representing the Child Jesus) hidden inside. The person (or people) who received the figurines on Three Kings Day are supposed to host the party on Candlemas Day. Tamales are the food of choice.

This tradition also carries Pre-Hispanic roots.

After the Spanish conquistadors introduced the Catholic religion and masked indigenous traditions with their own, to help spread evangelization, many villagers picked up the tradition of taking their corn to the church in order to get their crops blessed after planting their seeds for the new agricultural cycle that was starting. They did this on February 2, which was the eleventh day of the first month on the Aztec calendar —which coincidentally fell on the same day as the Candelaria celebration. It’s believed that this is why, to this day, the celebratory feast on February 2 is all corn-based —atole and tamales.

This date is special for other reasons too… 

February 2, marks the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, which aligns with the pagan holiday of Imbolc. Since ancient times, this date was thought to be a marker or predictor of the weather to come, which is why it is also celebrated as Groundhog Day in the United States. There was an old English saying that went “if Candlemas be fair and bright, Winter has another flight. If Candlemas brings clouds and rain, Winter will not come again.” In many places, this is traditionally seen as the best time to prepare the earth for spring planting.

In Perú the Fiesta de la Candelaria is a festival in honor of the Virgin of Candelaria, patron saint of the city of Puno and it is one of the biggest festivals of culture, music, and dancing in the country.

The huge festival brings together the Catholic faith and Andean religion in homage to the Virgin of Candelaria. The Virgin represents fertility and purity. She is the patron saint of the city and is strongly associated with the Andean deity of ‘Pachamama’ (‘mother earth’). It is this common factor of both religions that brings them together for the festival. In 2014, UNESCO declared the festival an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The main dates of ‘Fiesta de la Candelaria’ are February 2nd – 12th.