Fun Tamale Traditions

1216-ice-house-tamale-party_xjpuadI love this time of the year because of all the family traditions, both old and new. Of course, for many, making (and eating) tamales is a must during Christmas season. Sofia Luna and I were fortunate to spend a few days in Tucson prior to Christmas and it so happened that one of the days we were in town was our annual tamale-making day! When my Nana Erlinda was alive, all of my tias, tio and cousins would gather to make dozens, dozens and DOZENS of red chili tamales. It was a fun time because not only were we on Christmas vacation but we would all gather, laugh and catch up while we made the tamales. Although my nana has passed on, we still carry her tradition and recipe and make tamales. These individually wrapped cornhusks involve much more than tradition but also love, family and Mexican heritage. Tamales are very popular during the Christmas Eve up to the New Year and are necessity for any holiday party.

I know everyone prepares tamales different and depending on the city, region or country where you call home, the ‘TAMAL’ differs. For example, in Tucson, the tamale is a traditional Sonoran style.  The corn masa is prepared with red beef or pork chili and can include jalapenos and green olives.  In Los Angeles, my suegra makes rajas con queso and tamale de pina ones. We also have friends who make Salvadorian tamales and Guatemalan tamales.   No matter what, tamales bring us together during the holidays.

So many tamales!
2016: Cornhusks+Masa | Perfect time to catch up with my cousin, Sunni! ❤
Christmas 2015, at my parents house! My nina Artie and her kids (my cousins): Gina Santos, Frank and Sunni Lopez.  My dad, Rene prepares the meat the night before and my mom, Gracie gathers all the fixings so we can make the tamales!
Christmas Eve 2011: This was the first year making tamales in Los Angeles with my mother in law, Rosa and Tia Lupita.  My mother in law is from San Luis Potosi and she shared with me the recipe her mother taught her.

This year, we made tamales at my parent’s house. My nina and nino, cousins and their  kids also helped prepare and execute the tamale assembly and I was quite impressed. But what really impressed me more this year, was the younger generation. While we were all very serious about our tamale making, my cousins had a new tradition they wanted to create. Another family tradition besides tamale making is our annual Christmas Show. Our annual Christmas Show was something that my mom, tias and tio initiated for us when we were all small (they are all retired school teachers). It was something that they encouraged their children to perform to pass time on Christmas Eve. It was also something my grandparents enjoyed. Ever since I can remember, we would gather on Christmas Eve (depending on the year there would be 25-30 of us relatives). Each one of us would perform a ‘talent’ or reside a joke. It was fun because it felt like we were really on center stage. I remember singing along side my tata Frank while he played his guitar. I also remember practicing with him days prior to our ‘big show!’ Those traditions truly are priceless.  This year however, my cousins decided to upgrade the program…they made a music video! I had no idea that while we were inside making tamales, my cousins were outside producing and directing a music video. I saw my little cousin, Francisco ‘Frankie Jr.’ Lopez who is a junior at Tucson High with a camera in his hand. I noticed he was taking pictures of my house and he also took some candid shots of Mi Reina Mobile Boutique, but I did not know the extent to what they all had planned.

Improv photo shoot of Mi Reina Mobile Boutique.

Check out the description summary my cousin Frankie wrote for their video.  They created a new, creative tradition for the family: a music video!  Good job Frankie, Aidan, William, Analuisa, Auggie, Romario and Sofia Luna! 😀

Every year, my grandma throws a little holiday show where the grandkids sing and dance. My cousins and I got tired of doing that every year, so we are just gonna show this video instead. sorry grandma -Frankie Lopez

So cute! When I showed Sofia Luna the music video, she was so happy when she saw herself playing with her cousins! She also got excited when she saw the chickens.  Feeding her tata’s chickens are something that she loves to do every time we are visiting Tucson.  My little cousins also told me that they wanted to include Sofia Luna in their video since she would not be able to perform at this year’s Christmas Show.  So, although we were not physically in Tucson this year for Christmas, we were still apart of our family traditions, which I hold so dear. What traditions will you create in 2017?



Author: mireinaboutique

Mi Reina Mobile Boutique is the most unique and innovative way to shop for clothes and accessories in Tucson and Southern Arizona. “Mi Reina” is in the process of becoming a fully renovated vintage trailer that offers more than fashion. Mi Reina’s goal is to make every person who visits the 1961 Siesta Liner to leave away feeling like a queen, inside and out. Every reina, or queen deserves to feel beautiful. Mi Reina Mobile Boutique made its debut in Fall 2016.

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