Holiday Tradition – Mexican

On Christmas Eve, Blanca, her sisters and her mom get together to prepare dinner. The menu is standard and always includes masa (batter), husks, chicken, potatoes, meat with red sauce, pineapple, raisins, and cheeses. Her mother always prepares the sauce in advance which she refers to as salsa. The sauce is a particular one her mother’s mother had devised and it is only made once a year. The special sauce is known as “Salsa Michoacana” because this is where the family is from. It was passed on from her grandmother and has stayed as a tradition to eat every Christmas Eve. The fillings are pre-cooked and everything is laid out on a long table. Loud music is put on, everyone puts on their aprons, and all they take a spot around the table forming an assembly line. One person would fill the husks, then pass it on to the next who folds it, and the last person ties it. The assembled husks get placed in different containers and get steamed in different pots depending on the filling used.

While the food is cooking and the kitchen cleaned up, the family relaxes while playing “Loteria” which is equivalent to Bingo except the cards have pictures not numbers. Some common pictures on the cards are of “el boracho” (the drunken man), “la palma” (the palm tree), “la estrella” (the star), “el sol” (the sun), and “el botella” (the bottle). A deck of cards is turned and little stories are made to depict little stories of the card turned over. Beans are used to cover the card and when the card is filled one yells “Loteria”.

This time before Christmas represents a time for family and tradition to Blanca. Regardless of the directions that her family members have taken that year, the Christmas preparation sparks a time for togetherness and family.

Blanca’s family celebration seems to represent a time where not only present family is recognized but also a commemoration of family members who have passed and an acknowledgment of tradition and culture. This is implied through various features of Blanca’s story. Firstly, the special salsa that is made for the event is named in remembrance of the location that the family is from. Secondly, the same exact recipe is repeated each year, with each person assigned a different task. Not only does it reinforce the necessity of each family member in the creation of the Christmas Eve celebration but also emphasizes the presence of tradition within Blanca’s family.

The card game emphasizes the Mexican influence on Blanca’s family. The game “Loteria” is one that is in their native tongue and slightly adapted to reflect the Mexican culture. Playing the card game is useful for the purpose of recreation and fun but also a time for family to rest collectively in addition to all the time that goes into the preparation of the event.