My husband is British Jamaican and I am of Italian and Puerto Rican descent. This will be our first Christmas and New Year as a married couple. I was wondering if you could give me ideas for a multicultural holiday.
I’m trying to incorporate all of our cultural backgrounds to create a memorable holiday and begin our own family tradition.Hi there,
Congratulations on your 1st Christmas/Holiday season together. I think it’s wonderful that you’re trying to establish your own ‘family tradition’. Remember however to incorporate elements of holiday traditions from when both of you were children, this way you can pass this down to your children as well.
Since both you and your husband represent three different and unique backgrounds, I won’t be able to provide you with ‘cookie cutter’ ideas for your new ‘family tradition’. I am providing you however with some examples of Christmas traditions from all three countries:
Christmas in Italy:
- One old Italian custom is that children typically go out Carol singing and play songs on shepherds pipes wearing shepherds sandals and hats.
- On Christmas Eve, no food is eaten until after Midnight Mass. Then the main Christmas meal is served which consists of an Italian Christmas Cake called ‘Panettone’ (a dry fruity sponge cake).
- Lots of people paint their houses and hang new curtains and decorations for Christmas. Most families spend Christmas Day at home with friends and family members.
- Christmas day meal is usually prepared on Christmas Eve and the traditional Jamaican Christmas meal include fresh fruits, sorrel, rum punch and meat.
- Christmas Day breakfast consists of ackee and saltfish, breadfruit, fried plantains, boiled bananas, freshly squeezed fruit juice and tea. Dinner is usually served in the late afternoon and may include chicken, curry goat, stewed oxtail, rice and peas. Jamaican red wine and rum fruitcake is traditional and is eaten in most homes. The fruits in the cake are soaked in red wine and white rum for months before Christmas.
Christmas in Puerto Rico:
- Christmas celebrations in Puerto Rico begin very early in December and doesn’t end until December 25th. Most times, the celebrations can continue into the middle of January if you consider the ”octavas and octavitas”.
- The big Christmas celebrations are; December 24 – Nochebuena; December 25 – Navidad; December 31 – Despedida de Año; and the biggest and most important of all for the children of course, is el Día de Reyes on January 6th.
- Puerto Ricans are known for their unforgettable “parrandas or trullas navideñas”. A parranda is a small group of friends gathering together to “asaltar” or surprise another friend. It’s the Puerto Rican version of Christmas caroling.
- Most parranderos play some sort of instrument, either guitarras, tamboriles, güiro maracas, or palitos and then they all sing.
- A parranda tends to be more secular than religious however many of the traditional aguinaldos (Puerto Rican Christmas songs) retain the holiday spirit.
- The parranderos arrive at the destination and then very quietly gather by the front door. At a signal they all start playing their instruments and sing.
- The parrandas usually begin after 10pm in order to surprise and wake the sleeping friend. Parranderos are typically invited in for refreshments, while music and dance follow. Of course they don’t surprise unsuspecting victims. The parranderos are given plenty of “hints” beforehand by the homeowner that he is ready to receive a parranda.
- Part of the holiday festivities includes cooking a pig on a spit. Most Puerto Ricans feel their Christmas is incomplete if they did not get to participate or enjoy an old fashioned lechón asao (pig).
- Cooking the pig is a big event. The pig is usually purchased and prepared a couple of days ahead of the big day. Here is also a recipe for Coquito (homemade Puerto Rican Egg Nog)
Visit this website to learn more about Christmas/Holiday traditions from your ancestry and other countries as well.
Good luck with your new ‘holiday tradition’!
- The Role Culture Plays In Multicultural/Interracial Relationships: Asia (kolorblindmag.com)
- Belize’s Thanksgiving a Multicultural Feast (prweb.com)
- Multicultural Living (lifesansborders.wordpress.com)
- Culture wars really heat up over Christmas (bangordailynews.com)
- Interracial Relationship Advice: Should I Ask Him Out? (kolorblindmag.com)
- The Top 5 Rules To Interracial Dating (kolorblindmag.com)
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- African-American Women On Interracial Dating: Is It Love? (kolorblindmag.com)
- Interracial Relationship Advice: He Called Me ‘White Trailer Trash’, Should I Take Him Back? (kolorblindmag.com)
- What I Learned From My Interracial Relationships: Raise Your Standards (madamenoire.com)
- “Coquito”: Puerto Rican Christmas Tradition (myveganvida.com)
- Christmas Shopping Guide (creditcard.com.au)
- A Holiday Tradition (greatwhitebottling.com)
- Puerto Rican Pumpkin Fritters (karma-free-cooking.com)