Holiday Traditions – By Arely Angel

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Growing up, my family’s holiday traditions in Mexico were very different from traditions here in the United States. Sharing traditions is one of my favorite parts about the holiday season. Regardless of what culture or religion, family is the focus of many holiday traditions.

My favorite Mexican holiday tradition is the Posadas. Posadas are a ritual reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging in Bethlehem, and are usually performed before Christmas. Afterwards, families get together for dinners filled with delicious traditional food and beverages.

My favorite part about Posadas was the piñatas filled with fruit and candy! My grandmother would make piñatas for the holiday season. She would make the piñatas early in November due to the time it took to make them. Because families often hosted more than one Posada, my grandmother would make a lot of piñatas! Posadas started on December 16th and ended on Christmas Eve.

Making the piñatas was just as fun as breaking them. We would start with a clay basin and add cardboard cones to make the piñatas look like starts. We would then decorate them with bright and colorful tissue paper. We would fill them with various fruits such as guavas, jicama, sugar cane, and tejocotes (you may now it as Mexican hawthorn). Sometimes the piñatas would be filled with small toys and candy!

I wanted to make sure my children had the same experiences here, but Posadas are very hard to organize when you don’t live next door to your family and friends. However, we do make our own piñatas every year. My children enjoy making them, and we try to make different designs every year. We started making stars just like I did when I was young, and they absolutely love to make them. They take pride in their work and they learn so much from each other while doing it. They have learned patience and that not every piñata is the same. I hope that when they have their own families this tradition will continue. I want my children to work together and enjoy family time during the holidays.

I think it’s imperative to teach our children the importance of family traditions. If you don’t normally practice one, you can always make one that you and your family enjoy each year, and will hopefully be passed on for generations. After all, that is how all traditions are made. Family is such an essential part of our lives, and we need to continue to celebrate it. Feel free to share any of your holiday traditions with us. We love hearing from you. I wish you all happy holidays!

Arely Angel is the Lead Preschool Teacher for the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. She can be reached at 703-335-8872 or via email at a.angel@manassasparkva.gov

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