5 Latinx Parents Tell Us How They Keep Holiday Traditions Alive in Their Multicultural Homes
One of my favorite things about growing up in a big Puerto Rican family has always been Nochebuena. Growing up, that night was all about Nana making pasteles in the kitchen, Johnny Ventura playing on the stereo, and 15 cousins running around my Nana's Bronx apartment. These gatherings were loud, boisterous, and filled with lots of coquito. We'd dance the night away, getting food-drunk on pernil, arroz con gandules, alcapurria, pastelillos, and any other goodies nana whipped up. In comparison, Christmas morning was low-key: fresh arepas being dunked in steaming tazas de cafe (Cafe Bustelo ONLY), opening presents, and screaming like banshees over the toys Santa had brought us.
When I became a mom it was important for me to keep these rich, vibrant traditions alive for my daughter—and, proudly, not a single Nochebuena has gone by that she hasn't had our customary foods or had her wheelchair twirled around in a million directions while dancing to "Aguinaldos Navideño." But with my daughter being half Black, I wanted her to be familiar with how the other side of her family celebrates. Even if I am single-momm'ing it!
It wasn't until I spent the holidays with her father's African American family in Houston that I learned how different people's celebrations could actually be. His family gatherings were all about the gumbo, the mac 'n' cheese, the cakes on Christmas, and black-eyed peas for good luck on New Year's Day! Not having grown up with any of those foods for the Christmas holidays, I recently tried my hand at the black-eyed peas. Let's just say we'll have to find another way to celebrate the other half of my daughter's culture during Christmas. Maybe I'll try my hand at Aunt Althea's famous 7Up cake!
Curious about las tradiciones of other Latinx families, I did some asking around to see how other families are keeping their customs alive, particularly when sharing the holidays with a partner of a different culture. One thing is for certain: We love our food!
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