Culture

Latinos Have Their Own Thanksgiving Traditions, Here’s a List!

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday, meant to celebrate the (not so sweet) origins of our country. Although the history of this holiday is much less savory than turkey dinner, its message of gratitude is a positive one, and ain’t nothing wrong with a day devoted to food. Plus, the definition of “American” is rich and complex—and Latinx folks have roots that go much further back in our country’s history than the very first Thanksgiving. So…if Thanksgiving is an American celebration, it is definitely a Latinx celebration, and you don’t know Thanksgiving til you’ve indulged in some of these Latinx traditions.

Pairing a pernil with the turkey.

credit: Pinterest

Pernil is also popular around Navidad, but it’s not unusual to see one alongside the usual turkey. As either a pork roast or pork shoulder, this bad boy is marinated overnight and slow roasted for ultimate tenderness and flavor. IMO, the pernil is much more mouthwatering than that big stuffed bird—that is, unless the turkey is a serious pavochon (adobo and extra meat, anyone?).

Stuffing the turkey with chorizo or bacon or beef—or ALL OF THE ABOVE.

credit: Pinterest

That’s right—no bland bread-based stuffings in this bird. A proper Latinx turkey comes with ALLLL the meat (usually pork, though: pavo/turkey, lechon/pork). Not only can you create a delicious stuffing with this meaty mixture, but you can prepare the turkey as though it were a roast suckling pig, slathering it with adobo, sazon, garlic, and oregano. Buenísimo.

Serving some kind of rice as a side dish.

credit: thespruceeats.com

The stereotypical Thanksigiving menu comes with a lot of sides, but rice isn’t usually one of them (at least, not in non-Latinx homes). It’s definitely typical to see some type of rice—arroz verde, arroz con gandules, arroz amarillo, arroz con leche (though we’ll get to that later)—squeezed onto that very full, very tantalizing table.

Bringing mashed potatoes and/or mofongo.

credit: cookingchanneltv.com

Latinx families are broad and super diverse, hailing from all over North, South, and Central America. While they definitely bring their own cultural flavor to the Thanksgiving meal, dinner might still involve things like mashed potatoes. But how do you think mashed potatoes stand up to mofongo, that scrumptious, salty smash of fried plantain, garlic, and olive oil? We know the answer, but it’s also nice to have options.

Dressing up just to sit together in la sala all night.

credit: @wearemitu/Instagram

Everyone knows everyone, and everyone knows what everyone looks like sin arreglarse. Sometimes no one even leaves the house all day. Still, it’s somehow important to look nice for all the tíos.

Chismeando, chismeando, chismeando.

credit: @wearemitu/Instagram

This is obvious—what’s a holiday without gossip? Of course, everyone is talking a million miles a minute (almost definitely in Spanglish), reminiscing and telling stories and catching up. But that sweet, sweet chisme—it’s the bread and butter (well, the pan de bono) of the whole conversation. It’s sustenance, baby, and it never runs out.

Drinking a TON of alcohol. Seriously…a lot of it.

credit: esquire.com

Coquito? Tequila? Poncha caliente? Pisco sours? Refajo? Depends on what tu familia prefers, but those glasses are always full of some kind of boozy goodness. Thanksgiving is a time for gathering and recognizing all the things there are to be thankful for—for spending quality time with your loved ones. But for Latinx families, it’s also the perfect reason to throw a raucous fiesta.

Drinking plenty of non-alcoholic beverages, too.

credit: Goya.com

For the niños (or those who don’t drink), there is no shortage of traditional non-alcoholic concoctions at the Thanksgiving feast. From champurrado to atole de arroz, the options are limitless and perfectly seasonal—these potions warm you to your soul.

Bailando, bailando, bailando.

credit: Youtube.com

No matter what you’re drinking, you are probably dancing along with everyone else. Throughout the whole preparation of the meal, and the many hours after, la casa is bumping with salsa and bachata. The true champions are the tíos and primos and even los abuelos who can dance with a plate full of food in one hand, and a glass full of something in the other. Thanksgiving is lit, y’all.

Replacing stereotypical Thanksgiving desserts with an abundance of Latinx treats.

credit: Pinterest

Oh, yeah. Like the arroz con leche mentioned above, Thanksgiving desserts in Latinx households are the cherry on top of a truly magical meal. Instead of pies—pumpkin, apple, pecan, whatever—think flan (of any variety), turrónchurros, guava paste, pastel de tres lechesdulce de zapallo (and the list goes on and on). No matter how stuffed you are from dinner, there is always room for some of this good good.

No matter how your family celebrates, make sure to enjoy Thanksgiving with the people you love. Eat incredible food, drink yummy beverages, and dance the night away!

Ok, So You Got The Baby Jesus Figurine In The Rosca De Reyes, Now What?—Here’s What Día De La Candelaria Is All About

Culture

Ok, So You Got The Baby Jesus Figurine In The Rosca De Reyes, Now What?—Here’s What Día De La Candelaria Is All About

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.

A Woman Threw A Lowrider-Themed Party For Her Son’s First Birthday And It’s Just Too Much For Our Hearts

Culture

A Woman Threw A Lowrider-Themed Party For Her Son’s First Birthday And It’s Just Too Much For Our Hearts

When it comes to maintaining and seeing our Latinidad flourish, instilling a sense of pride, excitement, and curiosity in our younger generations is key. Particularly when it comes to the past. One Twitter user’s recent birthday celebrations for her son, emphasized just how much teaching the old to the new is vital.

Way back before Twitter user @whoissd’s son Silas Cash C turned 1 year old, living in Southern California crafted a car style called “lowrider” that expressed pride in their culture and presence in the states. While the brightly painted, lowriding automobiles that were outfitted with special hydraulics that made them bounce up and down saw a peak in the 1970s, they remain a big part of Chicano culture, particularly in Los Angeles.

@whoissd’s son Silas is proving that he’ll be part of a generation that will not let the culture die out recently when he celebrated his first full year with a theme that was little more unique and closer to his family’s hearts.

For her son, Silas Cash’s, first birthday, SD threw an authentic lowrider party — complete with the recognizable cruisers in attendance.

Twitter / @whoissd

On July 27, SD shared pics of the big event with her Twitter followers. The post showed baby Silas Cash cruising in his own pint-sized orange lowrider. The party came complete with several lowriders and classic cars in attendance for party-goers to check out. Since posting the adorable pics on Twitter, the message has received more than 22.5k retweets and over 138k likes.

According to SD, Silas Cash developed a fascination with lowriders because of his dad. In an email to REMEZCLA, the mom explained the connection.

“[My son’s dad] started restoring two cars to continue a bond that he had shared with his own father throughout his childhood and it’s now something that the has been introduced to our son. The lowrider culture represents family, unity, and respect to us. It really is a beautiful thing.”

The one-year old’s mini lowrider had to be specially made in Japan just for his birthday party.

Twitter / @whoissd

Silas Cash’s mom explained the decision to have the tiny lowrider made for her kiddo.

“We originally thought about getting Silas his own lowrider because of the immediate attraction he has to his dad’s Impala. With enough searching, we were able to find someone who custom makes remote-controlled pedal cars, and we were sold… Silas and his dad have matching orange ’63 Impalas with the same candy paint hardtops to match.”

Twitter was quick to react to the simply adorable party and they couldn’t stop gushing over it.

Twitter / @cali_kalypso

As this tweet points out, this party is so authentically LA. Lowrider culture started in the streets of California in the mid-to-late 1940s and the post-war ’50s. Chicano youth would lower their car’s blocks, cut spring coils and alter auto frames in order to get the lowest and slowest ride possible. Back then, this was an act of rebellion against the Anglo authorities who suppressed Mexican-American culture.

This Snoop Dog meme says it all.

Twitter / @marissaa_cruzz

We’ve seen this meme make its rounds on the internet our fair share of times but this time it 100% applies. These pics of Baby Silas Cash and his mama are some of the cutest we’ve ever seen. The added bonus of the mini Impala makes this post almost too cute to handle.

A reminder that this little man is officially the coolest kid on the block.

Twitter / @devyn_the_lame

We can just see Baby Silas Cash pulling up to the playground in this custom low rider peddle cart and being the envy of all the other rugrats. There’s no doubt that he is the most chill kiddo at daycare.

*”Lowrider” plays in the distance*

Twitter / @JGar1105

We’re getting major “The George Lopez Show” flashbacks with all this lowrider talk. Don’t you think Silas Cash needs his own theme song? Obviously, there’s only one that is cool enough for the littlest lowrider.

Other tweets pointed out that it takes a fiercely cool mom to pull off this sort of party.

Twitter / @ismokemaryjuana

We’ve got to respect SD’s mom game. She really took her vision and went for it, resulting in a fun, unique and memorable party that her guests will never forget. Great job, mom; we hope Silas Cash grows up to realize how awesome his parents are.