In my family, we… always go to Christmas Eve together. We go to mass together at… seven or eight p.m. We always sit in the… left… front left of the church, um, after we go and see, uh… like, the floats that people make for Christmas, and they’re decorated with, like, Christmas lights and nativity scenes and scenes from the Bible, and there’s, like, kids and adults dressed up, um… with costumes from… Biblical characters, and then after that’s done… um… we go back to my grandma’s house at like ten p.m. Um, and before dinner, we gather around the nativity scene that’s in my grandma’s… uh… like, behind the front door… and we sing to baby Jesus, then we pray, we do a little reflection of the day, then we kinda go around and say things that we’re thankful for that year, um… like, how we were blessed that year. Uh… then we do, like, an Our Father together and hold hands, then we do, like, a closing, um, song. And then before we put baby Jesus in the manger, we give a kiss, and put in the manger, and then we go into the big dining room… where… uh, my grandma’s already, you know, set up the table, and we always have turkey on Christmas Eve with… like, the turkey’s made with red wine… and we have, like, a fruit salad that my grandma makes, it’s homemade, and… uh, sometimes the dessert, uh… like, an original recipe that she has for a… like, a chocolate cake… and after we’re done with dinner, we usually play games or go to sleep if we’re really tired.
Background (from interviewer):
My informant is from Morelia, Mexico, and comes from a very conservative Catholic family. She is very close with her family, and returns to Morelia to visit them at least twice a year. She is also deeply religious and is very involved with the Catholic Center at USC.
The repetition and specificity of these rituals show my informant’s and her family’s commitment to routine and her traditional background. They also emphasize her devotion to Catholicism and the religiosity of the holiday, and strengthen her bonds with her hometown and her family, since they do this all together as a family, gather at their grandmother’s home, and eat the same kind of homemade meal every year.