Coquito & Cannoli

December 24, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

The other day my 4yr old son brings home this assignment to fill out his family’s culture background. It asked about holiday celebrations and traditions in his family and it took me a minute to come up with an answer. Growing up, I didn’t see our holiday parties and family gatherings as traditional; it was just something every family did. Now that I have my own, I see where our cultural background makes this tradition alive.  Combine that with my wife's Italian traditions and the answer was a bit more interesting all of a sudden.

When I think back, I can hear pans clanking and singing coming from the kitchen as I’m waking up to the sounds of music humming throughout the house. Sounds of such greats; as Celia Cruz, El Grand Combo, Wilfredo Vargas and many more, giving my mother that extra push of energy to get through her hectic morning. She’s been up since the crack of dawn whipping up our Christmas Holiday feast scheduled at 6pm for a family that can fill a community hall. There seemed to be a three part recipe to my family’s holiday traditions growing up; early morning music, a huge feast, and a big family party.

As for my wife, well they also had a big family as they listened to classics from "The Everly Brothers" to Ol' blue eyes Frank Sinatra. However, I thought my family could eat, but holy smokes... my wife's classic Italian tradition is a non-stop food feast for like two days.  Christmas Eve dinner is an evening of 7 varieties of seafood all before attending the midnight Mass.  Christmas Day starts with morning frittata, then antipasto, then salad, then hot pasta and then you get to the main entree in the evening.  Let’s not even talk about the cannoli and frangelico. This all translates to eating and eating and… (wait for it) …more eating.

©Richard Rosario Photography_Family©Richard Rosario Photography_Family

All the commotion about religion and Christmas lately has taken away from what this holiday is built upon; family, friends, and making memories. It wasn’t until my son’s school assignment that I forgot myself. To take on the holiday spirit, I put on some old school merengue and Frank Sinatra, poured me a cold glass of coquito as I took that moment to soak in my newly found-family-feast tradition before sitting down to write this blog. I learned how my sons close relationship with the family comes from where we come from. It brought me so much joy to run around the family Christmas party with my cousins until we would eventually fall asleep on the bed with all the guests coats while the adults drank coquito and danced til’ morning like it was 1999’.

Bring out the dominoes, cards, musica, and coquito. Serve yourself a plate of pernil, aroz con gondules, platanos, or pastels; while my wife was eating lasagna, lobster fra diavolo and roast beef.  Pick a seat near your cousins at the kiddies table. Laugh til you cry, dance til you hurt, eat til you ache and gather around family from near and far at a table so large you have to pass down almost every dish til’ you’re done eating. That’s our family cultural tradition; the Christmas family feast. Whatever your family tradition is, pass it down to the kids and keep that strong family bond through holiday traditions shared with those you love. 

©Richard Rosario Photography_Rich & Ryan©Richard Rosario Photography_Rich & Ryan

Love life, love yourself, and don’t forget..... Be Jolly, Be Strong, Be YOU.

Tell me; what’s your family holiday tradition?  

Post in the comments below.

 

 

 

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