Growing up mixing traditions and celebrating Thanksgiving in a Mexican-American household
An endless supply of food that includes leftovers for weeks, your friends and family gathered for the feast, sharing the things you are thankful for, and even football. For many it is a tradition that is simply defined and categorized by those things, but what about for people that grow up in a different geographic area of the US, for them it can look a little different. Americans that live in a Mexican-American household have the benefit of a multicultural experience of two countries, especially when you have family living in both. Here are the three reasons why The Colibri Collective is obsessed with a mixed culture Thanksgiving.
1. Adding to the Flavorful Tastes: One would assume that celebrating Thanksgiving means the food is different, but that is not true. All the traditional fixings make up part of the Thanksgiving feast, but of course with a twist and a dash of spice. From the turkey to the candied yams, it’s Mexican-American fusion at its finest. There are families who serve the turkey with a chipotle chili-based salsa, mole, chile rojo and others who marinade the turkey using various chilis, achiote or tequila. The marshmallows and nutmeg are replaced in candied yams with Piloncillo, an unrefined Mexican sugar that is made from cane sugar made from boiling and evaporating the cane juice. There’s salsa or jalapenos next to the cranberry sauce. Brown gravy might be served in conjunction with a chipotle gravy. And of course, we can’t skip the tamales, which typically make an appearance during the feast.
2. Mixing Traditions: One of the best things about being bi-cultural is when you’re able to combine two different traditions and convert it into one, big new celebration. For many families, especially those who have family living in both sides of the border, Thanksgiving is something that is more likely introduced by one of the younger members of the family, from expats living in Mexico or from Mexicans who spent time in the US. This has caused the Thanksgiving observance and celebration to gain ground with families in the United States and even beyond the border into Mexico. During the festivities, you might hear the sounds of mariachi or rancheras and of course, it is still important to go around the table and tell everyone what each person is thankful for in their preferred language.
3. Family, Friends, and Community: One important piece of all Mexican celebrations is that they aren’t only reserved for close family, the home of the host is open to friends, and neighbors from the community. Hospitality is an extremely important part of the culture and it is not an exception during the holidays. It is typical to have people walk in and out of the home throughout the night and joining in for loteria, a tequilita or a plate of food.
For Mexican-Americans el Día de acción de gracias aka – Thanksgiving, is meant to be a day to be thankful and grateful for your blessings. A mixed cultured Thanksgiving is becoming more popular and it is no surprise that this observance is gaining momentum outside of the US.