I am anxiously awaiting for December. A bitter sweet rememberence of my family traditions cling to my soul, my skin, and my heart. My grandmother, mother, and my son all have birthdays in December.
My son was born during the Winter Solstice. December was always filled with the scents of ground cinnamon and fresh hot chocolate. We not only had atole but homemade Abuelita chocolate. Nestle sells the chocolate already prepared in small disks but I fondly remember Abuela making Te de Canela (Cinnamon Tea) for the chocolate.
We also made fried tortillas that were covered in cinnamon and sugar called Bunuelos. Everything we did was together in a house filled with family. A house filled with laughter, music, and the smells of spiced pork and sweet cookie dough. A place where my tias and abuela used to talk chisme (gossip) and where I stood outside on a cool Texas winter day and looked up into the clear night sky at the moon. In the darkness, with the moon and the stars, I wondered about those before us and what they thought staring up into those stars?
Yesterday, I placed upon our entryway my grandmother’s old garland which I decorated with poinsiettas and old Christmas ornaments. I also place my nativity set up on our entertainment center. Abuela used to have these huge lawn pieces that were the Nativity scene along with a set of Santa Claus and the Reindeer.
It was a blissful union of our religious obligations that coincided with the cultural celebration of Christmas. The essence of December fills me with joy as I realize tha my culture is so deeply connected to its faith. It is hard to untangle the faith and the person sometimes. I am not talking just Christian based faith but the indiginous aspects of our culture such as the dark skinned Virgen de Guadalupe and our San Juan Diego.
December is filled with memories and happiness. I am planning on making it special for my kids now that my son knows what Christmas is.