Tradition-New Mexican

“My family makes enchiladas on Christmas Eve. It’s a tradition taken from New Mexico, where my grandparents and their ancestors all lived after they moved here from Spain in the 1600s.  My grandpa always makes the “posole” (“hominy” in English) and my mom will make the enchiladas. The tortillas have to be hand made or they don’t taste right.  Also, the chiles have to be imported from New Mexico so the sauce can be made fresh.  The most important thing to the recipe is that it’s a flat enchilada with a sunny-side-up egg on top.  This is not a traditional Mexican way to make an enchilada, but is something that came from New Mexican culture in the United States.  Christmas would not be the same without this food in my family. I don’t know where it started from, but has been a tradition in my family for generations and generations.  I’m sure it’s something was picked up from the surrounding cultures after meshing together.”

Paul is a student studying business at the University of California at Riverside. He is originally from Orange County, CA, but his family is from New Mexico. They have preserved this tradition in all its detail in California, as a way to preserve their family identity. Paul explained to me that his family keeps these traditions to keep in touch with their roots and their old lifestyle.

Their state of residency has been rather liminal. As they transitioned from having a New Mexican identity to having a Californian identity, traditions became set and stabilized.

Paul mentions that he thinks the traditions come from the interactions between Mexicans and non-Mexicans in New Mexico. This is an example of homogenation in which non-Mexican and Mexican traditions became absorbed into a new New Mexican tradition.