Thanksgiving Celebrations

Interviewer: Do you have any holiday celebrations or traditions that have been passed down to you or throughout your family?


Informant: Thanksgiving has always been a culturally confusing holiday for my family.


Interviewer: Why is that?


Informant: The majority of my family is Mexican and in Mexico and culturally, Thanksgiving is not something that we really celebrate.  It is often seen as an American holiday rather than a global holiday.


Interviewer: So how do you celebrate Thanksgiving?


Informant: Growing up, my family always made pozole and tamales for Thanksgiving. I loved it, so good. But us, cousins, the younger generation in our family, were confused when we were younger because at school, kids always talked about turkey and mashed potatoes. Eventually the adults in our family found out about our little culture confusion and there was a point where we started having pozole and tamales but also turkey and mash potatoes. The recipes have been passed down to us cousin as were older, and though we don’t cook them alone (it takes village, trust me), we’ve learned how to help cook all these dishes.


Interviewer: So your holiday traditions adapted as you started to mix one culture with another?


Informant: Yeah, it was also like a generational difference that caused others in my family to think about how the celebrating of a holiday in a specific way, affected the younger generation.  Now we do both and in a way it acknowledges the new and the old and works together.


Interviewer: I didn’t know that other families have pozole on Thanksgiving, in my family we have on Christmas as well as tamales.


Informant: Yeah the tradition definitely varies.


Background: The informant is a student in college studying Political Science.  She is half Mexican and often shares holidays like these with her family on her Mother’s side who still use traditional recipes to cook holiday meals.


Context: This interview took place when at home for a weekend.  The holiday celebrations discussed here were first celebrated when the informant was little and then changed around the age of 6 or 7.  From then on her family has adapted the tradition to include both kinds of food as a mixing of cultures and histories.


Analysis:  I really related to this piece because I have similar traditions with my own family.  It was also important for me to understand the reason why the celebration was adapted and to realize that outside forces and experiences have a lot of influence over our cultural productions and folklore.  When I was younger, I would not have shared that my family made tamales or other traditional meals because it was different from what everyone around me was doing.  But as I have gotten older and through interviews like these, it is important to note that through sharing we often build a much larger community than we started out with and produces more of a widespread network.