Because of our relationship with the United States, Puerto Ricans celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Although the main dish is the traditional turkey, we give it a Puerto Rican twist. Instead of mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie, we serve our turkey with arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), stuff our turkey with mofongo (fried mashed plantains with garlic and crushed pork cracklings), and serve any one of our traditional Christmas desserts: tembleque, majarete, or arroz con dulce (all of which are coconut-based). The closest thing to a pumpkin pie is a pumpkin flan (custard), which is delicious, too.
In my family, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season. Holiday decorations are set around these days, sometimes before and sometimes just after. I, personally, start my day by watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade on television. It is just not Thanksgiving without it! As a matter of fact, I write this post as I am watching the Parade and the smell of my neighbor’s turkey invades the home. Yum! After the Parade (which I have also experienced live in New York), we’ll head out to family gatherings where we will tell stories about the year and start planning holiday events.
It is a tradition to visit multiple homes of family and friends —beginning around noon and ending in the late evening. We don't usually all sit at the dinner table at a set time; instead, we set a buffet-style meal where visitors are welcomed to serve themselves as they come and go. The day is all about:
- being grateful for friends and family,
- seeing loved ones who we don't see often during the year,
- and telling stories while music is playing in the background (which sometimes even inspires some dancing).
Puerto Ricans celebrate everything! Therefore, Thanksgiving is just an excuse to kick off the holiday season and we are well-known for having the longest Christmas season in the world, which begins right around Thanksgiving and ends in late January with the patron saint festival in Old San Juan, Las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián.
Now I encourage you to experience the holidays and allow any and all celebrations to inspire your writing. Holiday celebrations and the stories about them make wonderful articles, blog posts, and even books. So let yourself be inspired to write about your family traditions and letting people know about your experiences and your heritage. I’d love to read about them. Comment on this post or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I wish you the very best Thanksgiving Day and a joyous holiday season!
Note: If you feel inspired to visit Puerto Rico this holiday season, we will be more than happy to have you, our culture is known for its hospitality and we embrace visitors from all over the world, welcoming them with open arms.
Vigimaris is an editor and translator and owns Editorial Narra, Inc. She is also the creator of Escuela de Autores (School for Authors). Her mission is to help you make your writing and publishing dreams come true. Connect with her on http://pr.linkedin.com/in/vigimaris and follow her on https://twitter.com/editorialnarra