From holiday card distribution to Thanksgiving turkey, American holiday traditions often precede cultural traditions across the globe. As a culturally diverse school, AT shares the integration of other heritages’ traditions onto the American table.
Between family gatherings and festive parties, music surrounds people of all backgrounds and food permeates the air. In Mexican culture, traditional food and music defines the holiday season.
Senior Gabriela Rojo shares how her family “I know Thanksgiving is all about food, so in addition to the Thanksgiving turkey, for us Mexicans, we make tamales, pozoles. We put on La Banda in my family, a traditional Mexican partner dance with percussion and wind instruments. I’d also have to mention that we mostly celebrate during Christmas Eve, not Christmas Day,” said Rojo.
The American traditions have integrated themselves into Rojo’s family’s celebrations, but Mexican customs still hold place in her heart.
“Honestly, I mostly celebrate American traditions, like I don’t celebrate Las Posadas, a holiday celebrating Christmas for 9 days. Even though I don’t, I still love the traditions my family celebrates during the holidays. We celebrate American and Mexican traditions together,” said Rojo.
Junior Joslynn Elakkatt celebrates traditions from the other side of the globe from the confines of her home.
“My family still takes part in holiday cards and other traditions deemed more American, but we make sure to hold our Indian roots close through making sweets and wearing cultural clothing,” said Elakkatt. “I love that we’re able to take part in Indian traditions halfway across the world from India.”
Senior Lauren Macaraeg recalls games her Filipino parents bring knowledge of from their hometowns in the Philippines.
“I like playing mahjong with my family because I get to experience the kinds of games my family played back in the Philippines. Mahjong is a huge thing in the Philippines and being able to learn how to play makes me feel proud of our culture,” said Macaraeg.
Macaraeg describes the pride she feels in her family’s ability to preserve and pass down traditions originating from the Philippines.
“Another tradition is for New Year’s, we do this gift exchanging tradition called Bunot Bunot where we all randomly pick presents and open them, and at the end, we get to exchange them with all the cousins. Bunot Bunot allows the family to come together and embrace our culture. It’s a tradition started by my grandfather, and it is something we will pass down to our children,” said Macaraeg.
Senior Paul Nguyen reminisces on traditions he grew up with and recalls how they have contributed to his growth.
“My family plays a version of Bầu cua tôm cá, a Vietnamese gambling game, during the American holiday season. We typically listen to bolero at gatherings, a popular genre of Vietnamese music. These traditions allowed me to embrace my Asian heritage because they allowed me to feel more connected with myself and better understand how my parents grew up. I learned to play the guitar and taught myself Vietnamese music theory to play with my uncles at family gatherings,” said Nguyen.