What are we going to do these Holidays? / English Translation from Spanish / Spotlight December issue page 31

What are we going to do these Holidays?

This time of year is one of the most anticipated for many.

Every country, city, home, and person has a different way of celebrating the Holidays.

In the United States, it begins with the Thanksgiving holiday celebration. History shows us that this celebration was born in approximately 1621 when the English who colonized these lands celebrated the production of crops after a long winter with the native indigenous people. How was it celebrated? With a banquet!

Since then, this holiday has been celebrated with family and friends around the table to “give thanks.” In my personal analysis, this holiday allows us to give thanks by exercising gratitude with words or actions (which should be daily). In Spanish, it translates as ‘giving grace’, which can be interpreted as giving of what we have: the graces (qualities or gifts) that we give to others. Isn’t that more beautiful?

Now we talk about December: For most Latinos, the December festivities begin in November, but different traditions make these parties full of color and flavor. Christmas is related to the birth of Jesus and the preparation we must have to receive Him, although it is He who comes full of gifts for us. The decorations in the house, the Christmas tree, and the manger illuminate homes in a very special way.

One of the central parts of these festivities is the food. This definitely brings family, friends, neighbors, or friends of friends around the table. We all become family. Most Latin American countries and even the United States prepare their Christmas dinner with Turkey or Pork with different sides and other seasonal delicacies such as Buñuelos, Custard, Panetón, Tamales, Salads, or Eggnog, among many others. In European countries like Germany, sausages are eaten with potato salad, duck, goose, or lamb; In Poland, Borsch is eaten, a sour soup prepared from beets along with dumplings; In Norway, they eat pork or lamb ribs, fish, pork or turkey. How wonderful to think about everything that unites us!

Finally, the New Year’s Eve celebration: Many people worldwide gather with family and/or close friends to enjoy dinner, pray or go to church, or have a party to close the end of the year and welcome the new one. Some countries have very funny traditions: Giving a kiss at midnight in the United States, ringing the bells in Japan, breaking plates at the doors in Denmark, painting the door red in China, eating lentils in Italy, eating 12 grapes in Colombia, and all this at midnight!

At the end of the day, the most important thing is unity, brotherhood, and always celebrating what comes regardless of where we are.

Happy New Year!


Carolina Rojas-Gee is the Marketing and Communications Director for the Greater Palm Bay Chamber of Commerce and works with the Multicultural Networking Group to strengthen this community. She is originally from Colombia, which makes this experience more exciting and relevant.