Growing up as a first-generation American, my family always did things a little differently. As a kid, I always had different types of snacks and lunches than the other kids. Instead of your typical lunchables, I would be coming in with some taquitos. How we celebrate holidays also seemed outside the mainstream.
I always thought that everyone celebrated the holidays how my family did… until I got to high school. Once I started comparing my experiences with those of my friends, I began to notice that my parents had been basically freestyling the way we celebrated holidays. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
When I got to college and started making more Latino friends, I compared my experiences with them and it wasn’t all that different. So if it’s your first time attending a Latino holiday dinner party, these are a few things you should expect to happen.
We are VERY affectionate.
We greet each other with kisses and hugs and have absolutely no shame about it. Why should we? If you are going to a friend or SO’s house and meeting the family for the first time, don’t be surprised to get a few hugs and kisses. We have a lot of love we want to share especially if we feel you’re practically part of the family.
There will be a LOT of people.
Holidays are meant to be shared with your friends and family. That being said most Latino families have many, many members. If most of the family is in the same country, get ready to see all of your 100 cousins at holiday dinner parties.
We eat like royalty.
In order to feed all these people, there has to be A LOT of food. Typically it is traditional food from the country that the family hosting the party is from. So get ready to eat until you drop and be prepared to take some home with you because there is no way you’re leaving without a plate.
We will brag your ear off.
This one is more among the parents than the younger folks at these get togethers. What parent isn’t proud of their child’s accomplishments? Bragging can be fine to a certain point but during these dinner parties it becomes a full on competition. They can literally talk HOURS about how incredible their child is so I recommend you politely excuse yourself.
There will be at least two gossiping Tias.
Oh, they’re there, and yes if they are looking at you there is a very good chance that they are gossiping about you. These ladies are your aunts and they tend to have all the family gossip and all you have to do is ask. If you want to know what’s going down go to them, but you can’t always trust their sources.
It will get LOUD.
Because of the amount of people, it becomes a competition of who can talk the loudest. Everyone is talking over each other and having side conversations that you can barely hear yourself think, let alone talk. The amount of laughter and noise that comes from these events may even get the cops showing up thinking it’s a under-aged boozer.
After everyone is fed, there will be dancing.
Its pretty customary for everyone to get stuffed with food and alcohol and hit the dance floor (AKA the living room). The typical playlist usually includes some merengue, bachata and salsa. EVERYONE thinks they are a professional dancer all thanks to the alcohol. I would recommend you not to pass by this dance floor or you will be dragged into this hot mess.