GF Mom Certified Celebrates Tradition By: Jacqueline Camacho-Ruiz
I grew up in a middle-class family in Mexico and our whole family was, and still are, traditional Catholics. It’s a beautiful part of our family’s heritage, to celebrate according to the traditions of our faith at Christmas. This celebration is not only for our immediate family, but our large extended family, too. And when we moved to the U.S., we brought those traditions along with us.
You can imagine it with me—fun, laughter, loved ones greeting with hugs, people everywhere, enjoying each other and a million conversations all at the same time. Kids are playing games, running around, all excited because “Christmas is here!”
There are decorations everywhere, and, of course, a huge Christmas tree with gifts piled all around, lights twinkling, ribbons twisting around it, and ornaments shining. I love a house that is decorated for Christmas, building anticipation for that special day.
And then there is the food, all the different dishes smelling incredible, and making you hungry in anticipation. Choosing a favorite is hard, but the Pozole, a hominy soup that is fragrant and absolutely delicious, says Christmas to me along with ponche, a sweet tea made with guava, apples, and cinnamon, all boiled together.
That’s not all! There are so many wonderful dishes that go together with that I could never name them all. Everyone enjoys pitching in and bringing their specialty, potluck style. A couple of those include—tamales and atole. Atole is made in many different flavors, including chocolate, strawberry, and my favorite, coconut.
No matter how wonderful the food is, or how much fun the family is, there is one tradition that has always been the most important of our celebration, which is always held on Dec. 24. It is called Peregrinación. It is a simulation of the journey Joseph and Mary took while she was pregnant.
The family holds lighted candles and spreads through the home with people in every room, doors closed. Then, a couple, dressed in clothes to resemble that of Joseph and Mary, go to each door singing a cánticos, a song, asking to stay in their home as Mary was about to give birth. As the song goes back and forth between Joseph and Mary and those behind each door, the couple is told no, no, no, until, finally, everyone comes together to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
The rest of the evening is spent eating our meal, enjoying our time together, and exchanging gifts. We have brought in a modern tradition when it comes to the gifts as Santa arrives to help celebrate as well.
Holiday parties are a big part of our family tradition and culture, and we stay up late celebrating, often until well after midnight. It’s not unusual to find the kids snuggled together sleeping at the end of the evening. Christmas Day is a quiet one for us. These traditions are important to us and we are passing those down to our own children, who are old enough now to really enjoy them.