Holiday – Christmas Eve

Jessica is a student at the University of Southern California. She was born and raised in San Pedro, CA. Her mother and father are both from El Salvador and moved to the California when they were twenty years old. Jessica speaks both Spanish and English fluently.

On Christmas Eve each year, Jessica and her family always have the same meal and do the same activities. Her mother and aunts prepare tamales and ham for dinner. The entire family eats together including immediate family and extended family. Then once it is midnight, the liminal period between Christmas Eve and Christmas day, they open gifts.

Jessica’s family has been doing this her whole life and her parents did a similar variation during each of their childhoods as well. The traditions they celebrate are similar to those of many people from Latin American countries and of Latino descent.

Jessica says that this practice her relatives to practice something that keeps them connected to their family origins. She says this is one of the few traditions that are native to her parent’s home country. Family cultural customs are frequently present and apparent in holiday traditions. It is a time when people are reminded of their culture regardless of their location.