Culture

In Miami, The Mayor Is Upholding A Pretty Cute Tradition Based On Cuban Celebrations And It Will Remind You Of Groundhog’s Day

We Latinx people tend to do things a little bit differently than the rest of the world. When we mourn the dead, we do it with colorful and lively celebrations focused on our loved ones’ lives. When we have a child’s birthday party, you better believe there’s going to be a good amount of cerveza and other alcoholic libations flowing for the tios and tias to enjoy. Even when it comes to other traditions not typically assigned to us, the Latinx community finds a way to make it all our own and do it up in style. 

That’s what Miami Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez did this morning when he participated in the 2nd Annual Pig Pardoning Ceremony.

Emily Blanck / Deep Sleep Studio PR

In the event held Monday morning at the Latin Café 2000 Brickell (an essential Cuban restaurant and involved part of the Latin community in Miami), the mayor spared the two pigs that would have otherwise faced slaughtering. Named Peppa and Petra, the pigs posed for pictures Mayor Gimenez and proved to be real hams for all the attention that we offered by the attending press. 

The celebration of Noche Buena is what encourages the yearly pardoning of these little piglets during this time of year. 

Emily Blanck / Deep Sleep Studio PR

Throughout Latin America, the night of Christmas Eve is celebrated with a large feast. During celebrations throuout the countries that make up the Latinidad, roasted pigs, or lechón, are at the center of these enormous parties. This is thought to be dated back to the 15th century when Caribbean colonists and natives joined together to celebrate by hunting down pigs and roasting them on open spits. While many places still embrace this rustic cooking technique, Peppa and Petra won’t be going anywhere near an open flame this year. 

This piggy pardoning mimics a very American turkey tradition. 

Emily Blanck / Deep Sleep Studio PR

The tradition of pardoning the presidential turkey is one that the White House has upheld every year since the days of President George H. W. Bush. The presentation of the Presidential Turkey dates all the way back to the 1940’s, however; presidential pardons weren’t as common for those birds back then. They were more likely to become dinner than to end up in a petting zoo or as someone’s pet.

“We’re a little different here in Miami-Dade. We don’t pardon turkeys, we pardon piglets,” Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, of Miami-Dade County, Florida, said during the pardoning. “They will live a long and happy life in the sanctuary.” 

It’s Mayor Gimenez’s partnership with the community that has made this pardoning possible. 

Emily Blanck / Deep Sleep Studio PR

This is just the second annual pardoning of piglets that the Miami-Dade County has performed but it’s far from the last. The event is a labor that is invested in by community staple, the Latin Café 2000 Brickell, as well as by the dedicated individuals at Aguacate Sanctuary of Love. 

A vegan cafe and animal shelter, Aguacate Santuary of Love is the organization that rescued the two lucky swine from a local slaughterhouse. In fact, Aguacate has promised to give the two rescued piggies a full life, complete with plenty of space to run and play and with no possibility of becoming someone’s Christmas Eve feast anytime in the future. 

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This Stranger Gifted 4-Year-Old Twins a Puppy After Finding Their Christmas Wishlist 650 Miles Away

Entertainment

This Stranger Gifted 4-Year-Old Twins a Puppy After Finding Their Christmas Wishlist 650 Miles Away

Screenshot via YouTube

It may be springtime, but the following story proves that the Christmas spirit can last all year round. Recently, Good Morning America reported a story that proves that good Samaritans do exist. And in fact, they’re hiding in plain sight.

In December, 4-year-old twins Luna and Gianella Gonzalez released two red balloons in the air with their Christmas wishlist to Santa attached to them.

via Leticia Flores-Gonzalez/Facebook

According to their mom Leticia Gonzalez, the little ceremony was meant to be something “different” for the girls–“a memory they could keep after a rough 2020.”

Their mom didn’t think anything would come out of the balloons. Like a message in a bottle, she assumed that the girls’ wishlist wouldn’t reach anyone else’s eyes. “It was a windy day and I just thought it was going to get lost, caught up in a tree.”

It was to her surprise, then, when Louisiana man Alvin Bamburg contacted her via Facebook after finding a wishlist over 600 miles away in Grand Cane, Louisiana.

Bamburg had been deer hunting when he came across Luna’s discarded balloon and wishlist. The list asked Santa for candy, a Spider-Man ball, a “Frozen” doll, My Little Pony, and a puppy. Touched, he posted a photo of the note to Santa to his Facebook page.

“Found this in the woods in Grand Cane, LA,” Bamburg wrote. “Would love to know when it was launched. Looks like it traveled over 600 miles. Feel free to share.”

Bamburg’s family and friends did their duty and shared the post liberally. Soon, Bamburg was able to get in touch with the Gonzalez family.

via Alvin Bamburg/Facebook

He updated his post: “We have heard from the mom and are going to work with her to figure out the best way to grant her daughters’ wishes. Stay tuned…”

After talking with Leticia Gonzalez, and with the help of some generous donations from friends and family, Bamburg shipped a belated Christmas package to Liberal, Kansas.

Naturally, Bamburg didn’t ship the puppy from the wishlist in the package. But, that’s where the magic of the story comes in.

With Leticia Gonzalez’s blessing, Bamburg and his wife planned a trip to Kansas to meet the family for the first time and deliver a brand new puppy to the girls. Good Morning America filmed the entire meet-up.

Bamburg, Luna and Gianella all played with the puppy on the front lawn of their house. Leticia Gonzalez told GMA that Bamburg is now part of their family. “We are very blessed,” she said through tears. “Thank you. Thank you for making my girls so happy.”

Bamburg, himself, was almost as happy as the twin girls were, if not happier. “If you can make one person smile — trust me not only will it help them, it will make you feel so much better,” he said.

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Socially Distanced Navidad? Here Are the Best Family Games to Play Over Zoom

Culture

Socially Distanced Navidad? Here Are the Best Family Games to Play Over Zoom

Photo: Getty Images

This Christmas, unfortunately, is going to be tough for a lot of people. With the coronavirus pandemic still waging on, many of us have had to make the tough decision to stay home for the holidays. That means no traveling out of town or visiting extended family like we have in years past.

If you come from a family that likes to get into the competitive spirit and play games over the holidays, then giving up that tradition might feel too disappointing. Luckily, we can all rely on technology to keep us connected in these trying times when we’re forced to be apart.

We’ve compiled a list of Zoom-friendly games that you can play with your family over the holidays and beyond. Take a peak at our fun picks below!

1. Charades

This one’s an easy one. All you have to do is create a Zoom link, send it out to family members and pick a topic to act out. If you’re having trouble thinking of a word, trying using a Charades word generator.

2. Card Games

Who says a little old pandemic can keep us from playing cards with our loved ones? For many of us, playing cards with our family is as steadfast a holiday tradition as exchanging gifts is. Log on to https://playingcards.io/ to create a custom game room to share with your family.

3. Bingo

Think about it: Bingo is the perfect game to play over Zoom. Websites like https://myfreebingocards.com/virtual-bingo have virtual bingo games you can play for free with up to 30 participants!

4. Heads Up!

Heads Up! is a game in which a player has to guess which word/topic is on their phone screen by the clues their team members are giving them. In order to make the most of this game, players at each Zoom location will have to download the Heads Up! app on their phone. And after that, it’s smooth sailing.

5. All Bad Cards (aka Cards Against Humanity)

If you’re the type of family that likes to push the envelope over a game of Cards Against Humanity, consider logging onto https://allbad.cards/. All you have to do is generate a party room and send the link out to the members of your “party”. Then, you’re ready to go!

6. Pictionary

Pictionary is the kind of game that Zoom was practically invented for. In order to play this game, you’ll have to fire up Zoom’s whiteboard tool and share your screen with all of the participating players. Again, if you can’t think of a topic, get some help with a Pictionary random word generator.

7. Trivial Pursuit

You’ll have to own this classic board game in order to play over Zoom, but if you do, setting it up and playing is super easy. In order to make this game user-friendly for all participants, make sure there’s someone in your location that can play on the same team as someone in a different Zoom location. That way, all the players can be sure that there’s no cheating involved.

8. Outburst

If you’re a fan of Family Feud, then Outburst is probably right up your alley. This game requires that each player brainstorm lists off of a given topic (i.e. Top Ten Christmas songs). Unfortunately, there is no virtual or online version of the game, but instead, team members can take turns coming up with topics and having other players brainstorm lists.

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