Holiday traditions of a Cuban family

Every year for over 30 years my family has done the exact same thing, it’s our holiday tradition. I am not going to complain because I love it. This is the one time a year you will find every single person in my family in the same place.

Family holiday traditions

In 2007 was the first year Julio joined me in the trip down to the beautiful Florida Keys. I warned him about my family and our holiday tradition the way we love to laugh about the person in our live and have adult conversations. The kids get to go outside and run around without a worry in the world. It’s just perfect.


My grandfather makes this pig that happens to have the best taste, ever! Although I may bias, but I kid you not it has flavor for days. He takes pride, waking up early to season the pig and set up the old fashion brick wall. Leaving the pig overnight to make sure it has time to grab every ounce of divine flavor. He then moves on to pulling out the chairs and tables to lay them out on the front lawn. This is his way or reminding the neighbors they are always welcome. As I have gotten older I have noticed most just come by during the day wish us well and then move on to their own events. The things is at the end of the night when my grandfather finally starts to carve the pig he makes sure to leave enough for you.

When the family is all sitting around eating my grandfather goes door to door and takes all of our neighbors a plate. He doesn’t worry or care if you brought something to share. He doesn’t care you have helped in any way, he wants to make sure that his one night you have dinner. That is his holiday tradition.

Our holiday tradition starts on December 24rd where the family starts to come over. We start to play dominoes, better bring your change because they play for money. The coolers are full of beer, juice and soda. The tables are set up in their perminate homes, well all but the dominoes one that one moves as the sun sets. It honestly sounds funny but seeing them try to move around the sun is one of the many highlights.

Must of the afternoon the kids are going up and down the street on bikes, or running after each other. Then we have the tech kids who just want to use tablets but the sad part of them is, no internet. High five to my grandparents keeping them in the kid zone.

Late in the afternoon, family by family will start to disappear and then reappear. Everyone is showered and dressed like they are heading to the Grammys. About that time is when the pig is ready to come off and be set on the table. My tia Carmen will start to bring out the congri, yucca, and salad. Setting up the food buffet style for everyone to come and get it. The kids all stand around looks at the pigs face, something that will either have them turn vegan or ask a million questions.

Once you have the kids are sitting outside eating the adults go sit in the living room. It use to be only the women would dare enter but lately we have had the men come join. Again we talk EVERYTHING, nothing is left to the imagination. This is when the secrets come out, when we learn about your personal time or lack their of.

After dinner it is time to work it off and hit the dance floor made of rocks and gravel. You belly is full the alcohol is flowing so you are feeling brave. The iPhone is connected to the Bluetooth speaker and you have found the perfect station. Now dance the night away because tomorrow you are expected to come and clean up all the mess left behind.

As the night comes to the end we make it back to my moms house and allow the kids to open one special gift. The gift will include new pajamas, popcorn, a movie and something sweet.

I hope you all enjoyed my family traditions but I’m curious what are your family traditions? Have you been able to continue your childhood traditions with your family?

8 thoughts on “Holiday traditions of a Cuban family”

  1. Love this so much! Our traditions are what make us who we are!

  2. Wow! This sounds like the best family tradition ever. Lots of fun, food and laughter! There’s nothing better during the holidays than that! Plus, I love that your grandfather takes a plate to neighbors. That’s so thoughtful!

  3. I love reading about other families traditions during the holidays! Thank you for sharing and happy holidays.

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