If you don’t know yet, I’m Cuban-American – very. I was even made in Cuba. My mom migrated here with my dad and most of her family when she was 7 months pregnant with me. On a boat. I’ve always been very proud of that. Really, if you grow up this way in Miami, it’s the norm and very easy to be Cuban-American.
Sure, it could get a little confusing at times. I would watch shows like Growing Pains and Full House and notice that my family and the families on these shows didn’t share the same traditions. They would have big Christmas Day feasts while my family would celebrate on the night of Christmas Eve with rice, beans and a big pig (lechón) roasted in the backyard, people playing dominoes and dancing. We’d celebrate the birth of Jesus in a different way than the Seavers and Tanners did.
So, yeah, Christmas was a little different than what your average American kid had. Then, to make things a little more interesting, I married an Englishman.
This year, on Noche Buena (Christmas Eve,) we went to my aunt’s house and had lechón, congrí (rice and beans made in one pot,) yuca and the best empanadas in the world – my mom’s. My aunt’s husband is American so we also had a sweet potato casserole thrown in to the mix! We came home where my kids had left cookies for Santa and my son had scattered reindeer food on the front lawn.
On Christmas Day after we opened the presents, we went on to have a very traditional English Christmas dinner. We had turkey and stuffing, cranberry sauce, sprouts, Yorkshire pudding, carrots, parsnips and roast potatoes. We even had Christmas Crackers and wore our Christmas hats.
It’ll definitely be fun to see what kind of Holiday traditions our little CuBrit-Americans come up with when they grow up and have their own families. Who knows what other cultures we’ll welcome into the mix?