Christmas Tamales and Thanksgiving Beans-Mexican food traditions.

My Informant is a student who has ties to her hispanic heritage. She shared a piece of her cultural heritage with me, involving a traditional food related to her heritage that she and her family ate during the holidays.


She described to me the family tradition of baking tamales on Christmas.

“Every year my family bakes tamales on Christmas. Its a special family recipe, only family and friends know it. The recipe was passed down from my Grandmother to the current generation. The recipe involves steaming the tamales with banana leaves.”

“She also described to me that the family has a tradition of making beans on Thanksgiving.
“My family makes beans on Thanksgiving, its a family recipe. It has been passed down from generation to generation, I think it started with my Grandmother as well. It started I think in the 80’s, and we have done it this way ever since. We make it with Chorizo, and the beans are specially made in a style called ‘frijoles de la joya.’ which means ‘beans right out of the pot’.”

My Analysis:

My initial thoughts are that these meals are a means by which my informant’s family infuses holidays with a direct tie in to their heritage. It may also serve as a means to foster unity, and forge closer social bonds with friends and family. The mentioning of a family recipe may potentially indicate possible variations in the recipe over time as it is passed down from generation to generation. I also believe that the annual nature of both recipes transforms the recipe from a simple addition into a yearly ritual which creates anticipation.