Christmas-Chicano Style

Mexican Nativity

Mexican Nativity

 
It’s a Chicano style Christmas in our house. We blend Mexican traditions with the Anglo-American since my children are third generation Mexican Americans mixed with French and Blackfoot Native American on their dad’s side.
My mother was born in California from immigrant Mexican parents. I was born in California and grew up in the 70’s, hence the term I use to identify myself: Chicano/a. The kids identify as multi-cultural. So our traditions are a mix of all our mix.
 
 
During Christmas time we make traditional Mexican ‘red’ tamales(chile and pork), green ones: grilled, peeled California chiles with Pepper Jack and Monterey Jack cheese, and the modern ‘healthy’ ones:  roasted chicken and tomatillo sauce. 


I’m getting a little loca from the shopping and preparation. The tomatillos, cilantro, and jalapenos are on the counter ready to boil, grill and blend for salsa verde. Bags of New Mexican Red Chile wait to be toasted with flour and oil. The pork loin is roasting under mounds of garlic and onions.
Abuelita (Mexican chocolate) sits in the cupboard next to the piloncillo (raw brown sugar cones) and maiz (cornstarch) for champurrado while the milk and soymilk wait in the fridge.(I am making vegan champurrado too for Vegan Son).
The See’s Nuts and Chews and Peanut Brittle, our reward after finishing our work, is hidden from everyone. The Merlot and Cabs wait patiently on the buffet table.
We start the tamale assembly line bright and early…uh, maybe not very bright and not too early…tomorrow morning. For a couple of hours, there will be calm before the storm of family, kids, music, laughter, gossip, warmth, and familiarity. All the great things one could wish for during the holidays. 
In the past week, I’ve come across some funny Chicano style songs to accompany our tamale making fest. I wish I could have found some accompanying music. Use the same melody as you would with the American version and snap your fingers for some rhythm. 
 
Arte Y Loqueras

From the talented Unknown Mami:

On the twelfth day of Christmas

my Nana gave to me
doce pork tamales,
eleven full piñatas,
ten chiles rellenos,
nine Padre Nuestros, (Our Fathers)
ocho tostadas,
seven Tias chismiando, (Aunts gossiping)
six kinds of chile,
five nalgadas (I was bad), (butt spankings)
four jalapeños,
three pairs of chanclas,
dos saladitos,

and a perico in an aguacate tree.
 
And by Felipe Campos, here’s his Chicano version of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas: 
 
Tis the night before Christmas and all through the casa
Not a creature is stirring. Caramba, ¿que pasa?
The stockings are hanging con mucho cuidado
In hopes that St. Nicholas will feel obligado.
To leave a few cosas aqui y allí
For chicos y chicas (y something for me).
Los niños are snuggled all safe in their camas
Some in vestidos and some in pajamas.
Their little cabezas all full of good things,
They’re all esperando qué Santa will bring.
To all of the children, both buenos y malos
A nice batch of dulce and other regalos.
While mama worked late in little cocina
El Viejo was down at the corner cantina
Living it up with his amigos. ¡Carajo!
Muy contento y un poco borracho!
And soon he’ll return to his home, zigzagueando,
Lit up like the Star Spangled Banner cantando
Outside in the yard, there arose such a grita
I jumped to my feet like a frightened cabrita
I ran to the ventana and looked out afuera,
¿And who in the world do you think que era?
St. Nick in a sleigh and a big red sombrero
Came dashing along like a crazy bombero!
And pulling his sleigh instead of venados
Were eight little burros, approaching volados.
I watched as they came and this quaint little hombre
Was shouting and whistling and calling by nombre:
“¡Ay Pancho! ¡Ay Pepe! ¡Ay Cuca! ¡Ay Beto!
¡Ay Chato! ¡Ay Chopo! ¡Muraca y Nieto!”
Then standing erect with his hands on his pecho
He flew to the top of our very own techo.
With his round y gran belly like a bowl of jalea,
He struggled to squeeze down our old chimenea.
Puffing, he finally stood in our sala,
With soot smeared all over his red suit de gala.
He filled all the stockings with lovely regalos,
(For none of the niños had been muy malos).
Then chuckling aloud, seeming muy contento,
He turned in flash and went like el viento.
And I heard him exclamar – y eso es verdad –
Merry Christmas a todos! Feliz Navidad!
‘Twas the Night before Christmas

Happy Holidays and may your traditions, old and new, find their way into your family festivities. Enjoy.



Categories: Champurrado, Chicano Christmas, Latino family tradition, Mexican Cooking, Mexican Holiday food, Mixed Families, Tamales, Vegan Son, Wine and Tamales

5 replies

  1. Aww, thank you for the shout out.

    Like

  2. sorry to say that Felipe used “Panhco Claus” lyrics by none other than Lalo Guerrero!!!! The legendary father of Chicano music. Lalo’s son Mark and I went to Garfiled HS in the 60’s. you should google Lalo Guerrero and you will be amazed at his accomplishments! His son Mark is most likely the definitive source for chicano music. you should see Mark’s web page.

    Like

  3. Twas the night before Christmas, when on the comales
    Not a pot was boiling, except for tamales.
    The pork bien picada, the masa helada,
    All in ready for the day`s Tamalada.

    The pots were washed, all shiny and shimmering,
    Las ojas were soaking, waiting for simmering.
    Abuelo on the sofa, the TV screaming,
    Abuelita on the bed, of lotto dreaming.

    When out in the street, pitos were honking,
    Abuelo yelled, “Wake up, Nietos coming”.
    The family arrived, dressed in delantales,
    Breanna in her wool, Xmas guantes.

    Andale Estella, Eva, mas pronto Juan!
    Muevele Christina, Miguel Y no tardes Don.
    Familia presente, at Inez`s kitchen table,
    Except for Cesar, lacking jumper cables.

    No frijoles ni queso, for filling instead,
    Only the best, of the cerdo`s head.
    No time to tear, a strip for a belt,
    The fold will hold itself or be dealt.

    To the elbows in masa, nails stained with red chili.
    Hands sticky with mole, we near dozen fifty.
    Tamales as gifts the relatives all want,
    For neighbors , el Hefe and my favorite aunt.

    With palita we spread, the masa so thin,
    Thick as a log, is a mortal sin.
    With gossip and chisme we forge on ahead,
    Nearing the clean-up we all dearly dread.

    A la olla they go con mucho cuidado
    Each standing tall, como un soldado
    Tamales a cooking, a la puerta we run
    Now it’s time for Las Posadas Fun !

    Después La Posada, Tamales we enjoy,
    Makes it worth, the trabajo hoy.
    All eaten before the Candelaria,
    None left, in the olla Tamalera.

    The dozens divided, carried by armload,
    The finished relief, made all smiles glow.
    Exhausted craving, for menudo or frajitas,
    We left Abuelita , with an icy margarita.

    Hurry home not to miss, La Misa de Gallo,
    As we try to keep tomorrow`s day hallow.
    A final shout, saludos finales,
    Feliz Navida ! y Viva tamales !

    Like

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