Culture

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

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.

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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

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This Iñupiaq TikToker Has A Thing Or Two To Teach You About Celebrating Indigenous Cultures Online

Fierce

This Iñupiaq TikToker Has A Thing Or Two To Teach You About Celebrating Indigenous Cultures Online

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An Indigenous woman from Utqiagvik, Alaska who is part of the Iñupiaq tribe is TikTok’s latest culture sensation.

While the rest of us are stuck indoors and quarantining, Patuk Glenn has been amassing a following on Instagram and teaching her 81,000 followers about the Iñupiaq culture, traditions, and daily routines. From sharing videos about hunting to showing off her culture’s traditional clothing, Glenn’s videos are a reminder that beyond being alive, indigenous cultures around the globe are resilient– even in the face of our world’s constant attempts to change and eliminate them.

Glenn’s trending TikTok videos run the gamut from cooking to wearing her traditional clothing.

In some videos, Glenn shares the recipe for Inuit ice cream (caribou fat, ground caribou meat, and seal meat) or shares what her traditional clothing looks like. In one truly insightful clip, she takes her followers through a traditional ice cellar in her mother’s house. There, Glenn shared with her viewers that she and her family use the permafrost surround the cellar to preserve whale, seal, and caribou.

Given some of the food content, some of Glenn’s videos have received some backlash to which she isn’t batting much of an eye.

In videos where Glenn features food from whales (muktuk, or whale skin) she says that she has become used to receiving not so positive comments on occasion. Speaking to CBC News, Glenn explained that such comments are hurtful at times but mostly only inspire to continue to educate her followers more. “At first I was really upset,” she explained. “From there, with all of the negative backlash, I felt like it was my responsibility to help educate on why our Inuit people in the Arctic are hunters and gatherers.”

Glenn says that negative comments only push her to share more and educate her followers, particularly because she would like her daughter to be able to share her love for her culture one day as well. “We don’t want our kids to feel ashamed of who they are and where they came from. That’s what really hurt me the most.”

Impressively, Glenn says that learning on TikTok has become a two-way street too.

From TikTok, Glenn says that she has been able to learn and educate herself more about other Indigenous cultures as well. Glenn’s growing understanding of these groups and tribes (like Navajo and Cree) are a welcome surprise. Particularly for someone who, like the rest of us, is taught very little about the world’s Indigenous populations. “In the United States, we’re largely left out of the media. There’s no representation of us,” Glenn shared. “It’s 2020, we have a real opportunity in this day and age to be able to educate the world where institutional education has failed, or where mainstream media has failed.”

For Glenn, her fight to teach others more about her culture is vital. “This platform is helping give the power back into Indigenous people’s hands, to speak on behalf of themselves. I think that’s the really cool piece of it.”

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BREAKING: After Almost Thirty Years, A Tía Abuela Took The Plastic Off Of Her Chair And Twitter Is Sweating

Fierce

BREAKING: After Almost Thirty Years, A Tía Abuela Took The Plastic Off Of Her Chair And Twitter Is Sweating

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In 2001, the Wall Street Journal wrote a piece about plastic slipcovers. The headline? Plastic Slipcovers Are the Clear Choice For Immigrants — and Trend-Setters. The piece examined the reasons why immigrants in particular use plastic slipcovers. Of course, as children of immigrants and immigrants ourselves, we don’t need A Wall Street Journal article from the early aughts to tell us why they come in handy. Furthermore, why they’ve proven to be a household essential amongst our families. For so many Latino households, slipcovers have been used as protective devices. Things to preserve our furniture for special occasions years and years down the line like if the President or Jesus ever come around. In short, the slipcovers only come off for very special occasions.

One abuela recently decided that she was done waiting for special occasions and stripped the covers off.

In a recent post to a user’s Twitter page, an abuela can be seen carefully doing away with a slipcover she’d been using for 30 years.

In a post to Twitter, a user known as @TheTaeWae shared a video of her great aunt peeling a very old and yellowed slipcover off of her fancy couch. “Y’all my great aunt took the plastic off of her chair for the first time in 30 some years,” she shared in the post.

The great abuela is not the only one pumped though. Users on Twitter cannot get enough of it.

Literally the video is the sweetest thing because the user’s great aunt is so clearly excited to have a chance to sit down on the fancy fabric of the chair.

Fans were super excited to see what the rest of this woman’s house looks likes.

And many users were eager to share cleaning tips to keep the sofa in shape.

Seriously, if you’ve got hot tips tell us in the comments below.

Because some Latinas are revealing that their own aunts and abuelas’ furniture looks like.

And we are here to cheer them on as they take them off.

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