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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

The ‘Sahuaraura’ Manuscript, An Ancient Peruvian Document That Was Thought Lost—Was Found Just Last Week, Over 100 Years Later

Things That Matter

The ‘Sahuaraura’ Manuscript, An Ancient Peruvian Document That Was Thought Lost—Was Found Just Last Week, Over 100 Years Later

BBC / Twitter

The Sahuaraura manuscript is considered a fundamental part of Peruvian history and culture. This piece Peruvian history, written by hand, was lost for a century and a half. Placed under the care of the then Public Library of Lima, the document disappeared in 1883 inexplicably—and now, over a hundred years later, it’s been found.

A part of the history of Peru, written by hand, was lost for a century and a half.

Peru National Library

During the Pacific War from (between 1879 and 1883), a manuscript of great value, was lost. Placed under the safekeeping of the then Public Library of Lima, the document was mysteriously lost.

“Recuerdos de la monarquía peruana, ó bosquejo de la historia de los incas”

Twitter @dossieroficial

The document titled “Recuerdos de la monarquía peruana,ó bosquejo de la historia de los incas” was a historical treaties written by hand by the priest, scholar and national hero, ‘Justo Sahuaraura Inca’, whom, it was believed, was a descendant of the sovereign, Huayna Capac, third Sapan Inka of the Inca Empire, born in Tumipampa and the second to last ruler over the Tahuantinsuyo empire.

The document disappeared for nearly 150 years.

twitter @bibliotecaperu

It wasn’t until 2015, when, by chance, the Sahuaraura manuscript was found thousands of kilometers away. The document was lost for nearly 150 years, nowhere to be found.

It was discovered in Brazil

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As it turned out, a family in Sao Paulo, had had it in their possession for over four decades —and hoped to sell it in the U.S. during a high profile auction by the renowned auction house, Sotheby’s.

Peruvian authorities are organizing an exhibition to show the document publicly in celebration of its return to Peru.

twitter @laurasolete123

After four years of formalities and paperwork, the Sahuaraura manuscript is finally back where it disappeared from, the now National Library of Perú. And to celebrate its return, authorities have organized an exhibition to show the document publicly for the first time. The return of the document took place just last week, and it was amongst 800 other historical and archaeological pieces including Incan ceramics, textiles and bibliographic materials that were all stolen decades ago —and that the Peruvian government finally located and retrieved from 6 different countries.

Of all the objects rescued, the manuscript holds a place of special importance for Peruvian history.

Peru National Library

The Sahuaraura text is considered a fundamental part of Peruvian historiography and the cultural value of the manuscript is ‘incalculable’. “Only this copy exists,” explained the Ministry of Peruvian Culture, Francesco Petrozzi, “and it tells us, very clearly, about a period in our history that we must all know about and study closely.”

It took, Sahuaraura, a member and descendant of the Incan noble family, years of research, consulting archives and documents —now lost— to be able to construct his primal history of Peru with data cited, very rarely, on other works about the arrival of Spanish conquistadors into this region of the continent.

The Sahuaraura manuscript includes an illustrated genealogy study.

twitter @peruturismo

The book also goes into great detail about the genealogy of the rulers of the vast pre-columbian territories that conformed the Incan empire with its capital in Cusco, which provides a huge insight into the history of the region to modern researchers.

The manuscript details Peruvian history, from the foundations of the empire, until the largest indigenous rebellion against Spanish rule in the region.

twitter @bibliotecaperu

The text starts from Manco Cápac, who was thought to be the first ruler and founder of the Incan culture, and follows history all the way up to Túpac Amaru, the indigenous leader who fronted the largest anti-colonial rebellion in Latin America in the XVIII century.

What is known of Sahuaraura, the scholar himself?

Museo Histórico Regional de Cusco

The priest and scholar is an icon of Peruvian culture and history. He was born towards the end of the XVIII century and he was the son of a leader of one of the regions of Cusco, which is why some chroniclers believe he belonged to the highest lines of Incan nobility.  He became a priest and joined the Catholic church, which named him synodal examiner of the bishopric and general liaison with six provinces of Cusco.

It is said that he received Simon Bolivar himself —a Venezuelan military and political leader who led the independence of what are currently the states of Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama from the Spanish Empire —in his own house, and that the libertador gave him a medal for his services toward the freedom of Peru.

Sahuaraura also documented important literary works of the Incan empire in his works.

instagram @manu_elera

Among the many other manuscripts that the scholar worked on, and that also compile different aspects of Incan history, there is a literary anthology of the empire. This document includes the codex of Ollantay drama, considered by some, the most ancient expression of Quechua literature.

Sahuaraura himself went missing.

instagram @purochucho

Nothing is known about the death of this scholar. Sahuaraura himself went missing from Peruvian history at a time unknown. All that is known is that he retired somewhere in Cusco, and no one ever knew anything about him after. There is no information on the place or date of his death.

Here’s Why Everyone Should Celebrate Nochebuena At Least Once With Their Latino Friends

Culture

Here’s Why Everyone Should Celebrate Nochebuena At Least Once With Their Latino Friends

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While many families around the world will be setting out cookies and milk for Santa and promptly sending the kids off to bed to wait until Christmas morning to open their presents, Latino families will be gathering with their tíos, tías, abuelos, and primos for one of the biggest parties of the year; Nochebuena —and it definitely outshines Thanksgiving, New Years, and Christmas Day, combined. 

For Latinos, Christmas Eve is even better than the actual day. 

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Nochebuena literally means ‘good night’ or ‘holy night’, and it’s a time for family, friends, food, presents and chisme, of course, We all know that there’s always chisme. 

Nochebuena parties usually happen at the reigning matriarch’s home.

Credit: @gabyromerom / Twitter

Every Christmas Eve, entire families flock from every part of the city —sometimes different countries— all the way to Grandma or Grandpa’s house, to meet the entire family. It’s the one time of year when you get to see your long lost primos or that tío you can’t stand; all to celebrate the birth of Jesus —And to open presents tbh. 

Everyone dresses up to sit in grandma’s house and eat up a feast. 

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Nochebuena is a time to serve up a fashion clinic for everyone present. Tías turn up looking extra af, los tíos are sometimes forced to wear ties, and all the primos and primas are selfie-ready as soon as the clock hits midnight. 

Depending on your family’s nationality or background, your Nochebuena experience might vary. 

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From the menu to the ancient traditions to the religious aspects, everything may be different depending on your family’s nationality. For example, if you attend a Cuban or Puerto Rican Nochebuena, you’ll find yourself face to face with a lechón, which is a deliciously large roast pig with face, feet, and everything else intact. Traditionally, the lechón is prepared inside something called a caja China and some times buried underground. 

If you’re attending Nochebuena in a Mexican household, you might find yourself enjoying homemade tamales and pozole.

Credit: horntortillas / Instagram

The menu might also include flan or buñelos for dessert, and maybe even a little tequila. Colombian Nochebuena dinners might include ajiaco Bogotano, a type of potato soup, and natillaa dessert made from cornstarch and milk that’s way more delicious than it sounds; while Venezuelans enjoy pernil (pork leg) and panettone (a sweet bread loaf) as their traditional Nochebuena treats.

Get ready for ‘el intercambio.’

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Just as the clock strikes midnight, everyone gets ready to eat their traditional dishes. Once the food gets eaten and the cafecito has been drunk, it’s time to gather around the Christmas tree and Nativity scene to hand out regalos. The ‘intercambio’ which literally translates to “exchange” is a Secret Santa of sorts, but it involves your whole family. Everyone gets a present and some families use the occasion to pick at each other by gifting ‘prank’ presents as well as real, meaningful ones. 

Nochebuena is even celebrated in the Philipines.

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The Phillipines was also a colony of Spain. The Spanish influence on Filipino culture is still pretty much present, and so Nochebuena is still celebrated on the islands. Over there folks indulge in everything from hamonado, a pineapple juice-infused chicken or pork, to sotanghon soupa type of hot noodle soup, and tsokolate (hot chocolate) to end the meal.

If the family celebrating Nochebuena is Catholic, there will be more events lined up on the night before Christmas.

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For many Catholics of various nationalities, dinner is often either preceded by or followed by a trip to church for la Misa de Gallo, or the midnight mass. In many Latin American cultures, there’s a baby Jesus tribute that takes place before exchanging presents or eating dinner. Days, and sometimes weeks, before Christmas eve, when the tree gets set up, so does the family’s nativity scene. Every piece and character gets set up as part of the Nativity scene, everything except baby Jesus. This key character joins the rest of the crew at midnight on Dec. 24, right after his birth. 

After eating, exchanging gifts, catching up on the latest family gossip —and putting baby Jesus to sleep, many families make their own traditions.

In many Latin American countries, playing dominos, lighting fireworks, and releasing paper lanterns into the sky are also fun traditions for the evening. And once the coquito, tequila, or Aguardiente gets flowing, you’ll probably end up dancing along to “Mi Burrito Sabanero” or Jose Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad,” just some of the many songs you’re bound to hear at least once at a Noche buena party.

READ: We Are Already Craving These Delicious And Decadent Noche Buena Dishes