LW is a retired 74-year-old woman who lives with her husband in Sunnyside, WA. She was born and raised there and came from an immigrant mother and father who came from Guadalajara, Mexico. She never went to college but became a mother to three children and a grandmother to several grandchildren. She was remarried twice and worked two minimum wage jobs to support her family. Her primary language is Spanish but her English is perfect as well.
Are there any special rituals that you thoroughly enjoyed growing up with?
LW: We used to have occasions with the whole family where we would get together and bury a whole pig in the ground to roast it. It is kind of the same ritual as Hawaiian luaus have but it is a bit different because it is a Mexican tradition. We had to eat all the parts of the pig that we could, even the gross insides and the feet. We used to cook the feet in a stew called menudo. It was kind of disgusting but some of it tasted really good.
What would you do at the get together?
LW: We would mostly just catch up with our relatives. It was more of a social event than a ritual to get all of the family together. I have twelve brothers and sisters so you can imagine that means a lot of cousins and grandchildren and the gathering of us all got huge. It was such a fun event and every year it seemed the family was growing more and more.
Do you still do these ‘pig roasts’ every year?
LW: No, we don’t do them anymore because too many people have grown old and moved away so the ritual has died off a bit but I still talk about the events with my brothers and sisters and look back on all the fond memories I have of them and associate the smells and tastes with amazing times.
These kinds of events are popular among cultures of larger families and they often create rituals to make a tradition and reason to see each other more often in the year. Mexican families are commonly larger than families in other cultures and tend to follow the big and loud stereotypes of the likes of Italian and Greek cultures. The food of the gathering is directly associated with memories and importance of the social event and is a huge factor of the significance of the event.