We just got over the Thanksgiving holiday and I still feel like an overstuffed turkey. I ate so much over this weekend that I’m surprised I didn’t get sick from gorging so much. I felt like a glutton. The food was great, spending time with the family was great and most of all life is great. I am truly blessed. I have an amazing family and I have wonderful friends. As the Christmas holiday now begins I am always taken back to the days of my childhood.
Of all the holidays, for me, Christmas is my absolute favorite. Not because of gifts or any of the commercialization of the holiday but because for me it conjures up memories of my grandfather, spending the weekends at his house and watching my mom, aunts and uncles break night making pasteles. They made so many that they would often last until the beginning of the year. We spent every major holiday at abuelo’s house and EVERYONE came over; aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends no one missed the great parties that my grandfather used to host. It was truly the best part of my year.
My sister and I were talking the other day and reminiscing about the “good ‘ol days” and about our cultural family traditions and how they somehow are slowly beginning to disappear. We no longer congregate at a family member’s house to make pasteles, some of the family has since become a little estranged, and as we get older I feel like the much loved traditions of my childhood will soon become just a faded memory.
I still look forward to Christmas because like most Puerto Rican families we have a huge party/family get together for Noche Buena (Christmas Eve), we have tons of food, drink, and we watch the kids open their gifts when the clock strikes 12 a.m. In our family we’ve never really been able to wait until midnight so the gifts usually get opened around the 10 o’clock hour. I guess that’s our family tradition.
As my sister and I continued to reminisce I realized that it really is up to us to keep our cultural and family traditions alive. Christmas here and in Puerto Rico really is a joyous, family holiday and I so look forward to this Christmas season because for me it’s all about family. May everyone have a safe and happy holiday season spent with those that you love Y.