Struggles of Finding Holiday Traditions as a First Gen Mexican-American
In the United States Christmas is the biggest holiday celebrated with all the decorations, treats, and presents but not everyone celebrates the same. My experience is a little different but those memories still spark some holiday cheer into my cold stone heart.
Growing up first generation Mexican-American it seems that there is sense of wanting to assimilate with the American culture of Christmas especially in the 90's. As a child in the late 1900's with the Nintendo 64, Etch-A-Sketch, and Beanie Baby's as all the rage it was hard to understand why our Christmas wasn't like you would see on television.
My household only spoke Spanish, which I could understand but not speak, we also were very close back then unlike today. As I grew up I found other kids with similar experiences of making tamales, getting a pet goat or pig that would disappear the night of Christmas eve, and being surrounded by tons of family. While assimilating to life in the United States it does feel like as a people we tend to lose parts of ourselves trying to celebrate the 'American way'.
We do tend to celebrate on Christmas eve instead of the actual day of Christmas but that just means we can eat left over tamales with our cafecito the next day. Also, I recently found out about danzadas from my elderly parents, which are dance festivals done for an image of the baby Jesus to honor his birth. There were also celebrations that lasted weeks, from the start of the posadas all the way until January 6, which is like an extra Christmas.
There are also piñatas, never ending food, kids running around like crazy, lots of dancing, singing, and the overall excitement to just be with those closest to us. The more time in the states and as people grow it becomes hard to continue those traditions because you either acclimate or struggle your whole life to understand. As immigrants we lost a lot of those traditions but at the end of the day we had our language, culture, and most importantly we had each other as that constant familiar piece of our past.