Tag Archives: holiday game

Holiday – Día de los Reyes


“The holiday is the Day of the Kings…in Spanish, it’s Día de los Reyes…it’s a Catholic celebration but I think it’s predominantly celebrated in Spanish countries. What we do…in my family and in many other Mexican families there is a tradition where you eat a bread…like a crowned bread…it’s sweet and has decorations on top and you hide little toys in the bread…little baby Jesuses. Depending on the size of the bread (la rosca), you go around the family cutting the slices and if you end up getting a slice with a baby Jesus in it that means that on Children’s Day, you have to take a certain traditional dish. Usually in my family, we make tamales. We celebrate it every year even though my family is not very much Catholic , but we are Catholic in our beliefs. We come together to spend it as a family. My mom makes hot cocoa. My grandma is the one who buys the la rosca and we have to buy two because our family keeps expanding. The Day of the Kings is celebrated January 6th and February 2nd is the day you celebrate the treats if you get the baby Jesus…you rejoice in being a family once again together. It’s a feast day you could say…it’s just to celebrate the epiphany that the three kings brought their gifts to Jesus when he was born…honors his baptism and pays homage to the three wise men…that’s basically what we do.


One of my roommates is Mexican and she was sharing with me this holiday that occurs on January 6th every year. She mentioned that her family celebrates this holiday every year even though they are not very much Catholic devoted. She “grew up with the tradition” and continues to celebrate this holiday surrounded by family members. She said that there was a moment in time when she asked her parents what this tradition was and she said that it is mainly a tradition among Mexican households to simply celebrate it. She went on to say that it’s a national celebration in Mexico even if you are not religious and “people come together just to do it simply for the family aspect.”


This Mexican holiday is celebrated to honor the Three Wise Men. Despite its religious roots, even those who are not as religious will celebrate this holiday. Other holidays around wintertime hide some sort of item inside of a baked good. This adds to the enjoyment of the time by adding this game element. As time goes on, it can be seen that this holiday has changed in certain aspects. Many parts of the holiday have religious implications, but in today’s society, not everyone emphasizes those aspects as much. This holiday is recognized as more of a time to enjoy the company of family and friends. Oftentimes you will see this where traditions are continued even though certain aspects of that tradition are lost.

Thanksgiving game

I asked, do you do anything specific with your family for holidays?:


“I have a really big family so Thanksgiving dinner is always 20 people or so. Every year at Thanksgiving dinner we each write down one “-ing” verb and one noun and put them all in two separate hats. Everyone picks one of each out of the hats and the combination of the two is your ‘Thanksgiving name’ with my grandfather acting as the chief.

When you pick your name you say it our loud and everyone else responds: ‘And the crowd says “ahhhhh”’

For example:

Person 1: I am… whispering three toed sloth

Family response: and the crowd says Ahhhh“


Background: Mae is a 19 year old girl raised in Westwood, CA and currently living in Los Angeles, CA. Her parents are originally from Chicago and Little Rock, and she lived in Princeton, NJ briefly as a young girl.

Context: Mae shared this story with me when she came to my house to celebrate Easter.

Analysis: Holiday traditions are incredibly personal to each family, and even people who celebrate the same holidays can have an entirely different way of doing so. My family, for example, doesn’t play any particular games like this at Thanksgiving, and our Thanksgiving dinner is usually one of our more formal holiday celebrations though it is always light-hearted and fun. Our Christmas dinner, as a matter of fact, is always extremely casual and we typically order Chinese food or have left overs, which you would think would be a more formal holiday. This further exemplifies how much variation there is in celebrations depending on specific family traditions. Similarly, however, my family always has Thanksgiving-themed hats that everyone receives on their place settings. It is really cool to hear what the unique ways that my friends celebrate different holidays with their families.

Greek Easter

A is an 18-year-old woman. She is currently studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California. She considers her nationality to be American, but more specifically she is one quarter Greek Cypriote, one quarter German and half Argentinian. that being said, she strongly identifies with her Greek roots. She is fluent in both English and Greek, and is currently learning Mandarin.

A: I have a fun Easter family tradition.

Me: Yeah?

A: It’s kind of Greek Easter thing, but after you paint the eggs you put them in the refrigerator, and after you have Easter dinner, everybody pulls out the eggs, they’re all different colors, you choose an egg of your favorite color, and then you fight each other’s eggs. So you like, you’ll each have an egg and then you like crack it, and whichever egg cracks, loses. And like you do this with different family members until at the end one person is left with an un-cracked egg.

Me: Do they win something?

A: They win like god luck for Easter.

Me: So you pick the one that you painted? Or does someone paint all of the eggs and you choose from those?

A: For me it was always like somebody painted all of them and you picked the one that you want, which for me, I always tried to pick the coldest egg, ’cause it was like the hardest egg. Yeah. I won a lot them when I was younger. So, yeah, that was fun.

A talks about a family tradition which they do every year on Greek Easter. She has fond memories of the tradition as she won many times growing up, also because she laughed and smiled a lot in her interview. Though she does not live in Greece, or more specifically Cyprus, where her grandparents live, she still celebrates the Greek traditions that have been passed down though her family.

Egg War

Form of Folklore: Holiday Ritual

Informant Bio: The informant was born in Yerevan, Armenia, moved to Moscow, Russia at six months, then to Detroit Michigan at age three. Since she was five years old, she was raised in Glendale, California. Most of the folklore she knows is from her mother (passing down traditions she learned) and from peers at school. Her mother remains as her main source of cultural folklore (Armenian) whereas her friends in school exposed her to the folklore of American culture.

Context: The interview was conducted on the porch of another informant’s house in the presence of two other informants.

Item: On Easter morning, after the eggs are painted and put out on the table (it’s part of breakfast). So we basically eat the eggs for breakfast. And before we eat them, the way we open them is like… um… taping the top of one egg against the bottom of the other, so the pointier side is hitting the flatter side. And if it cracks that egg, that means you like won the egg fight. And if there’s a few people playing, you move on to try and crack theirs. And then if you win all of it, you’re egg is like the sacred egg and you don’t eat it; you put it aside and you eat one of the ones that was weaker.

Informant Comments: The informant believes that this Easter ritual is a pleasant way of getting the family together to play an innocent game. She enjoys playing the game and believes the best part is being able to eat all of the loosing eggs and saving the winning egg for another day (another war). Everyone wonders if the egg will be able to beat the rest of the eggs the next day also.

Analysis: This Easter ritual seems like a harmless game that can bring some excitement to a regular morning breakfast. This egg war is very common in Armenia (where the informant is from). This ritual, unlike others, brings out some good natured competitiveness in the family member. Luckily, it almost never leads to an argument since the strength of the eggs the members of the family have chosen have nothing to do with the people who chose them; thus, no egos are wounded. Essentially, only good can come from adapting this Easter ritual because it starts the day off with a certain level of excitement and offers an initial topic of discussion for the rest of the meal.