According to Darlene Tenes, a professional event planner and the founder of CasaQ, for most Mexican and Latino homes…”Christmas isn’t Christmas without making and eating tamales.” Darlene should know this, after all, her San Jose based CasaQ is renown for planning festive and creative Hispanic events, which incorporate the traditions and customs of Spain, Mexico and Latin America. In her words, she describes the Christmas tradition of the tamale:
In most Mexican & Latino homes Christmas isn’t Christmas without making and eating tamales! We gather in a warm kitchen at the break of dawn in an assembly line, laughing and gossiping, while busily spreading and filling hojas (corn husks) to make hundreds of our Christmas tamales. This beautiful tradition passed down for generations in Latino families such as ours is an ancient food estimated to be from 5,000 – 7,000 BC.
Somehow my mom & I became known for making tamales we now share our tradition with others hosting Tamale Making 101 classes so they can continue or start a new tradition with their own family. We serve our traditional tamale dinner on Christmas Eve with both savory and sweet tamales. Ensalada de Nochebuena, a refreshing salad made with a medley of fruits and nuts. Then we end on a sweet note with Mexican Hot Chocolate with hints of cinnamon and spices along with Buñuelos, crispy tortilla-like treats or Churros that are a must for the Holiday season. This year I made a Chocolate Raspberry Tamales as well =)
Sounds delicious Darlene, and thanks for sharing!
Editor’s Note: Christmas is about Sharing. To this end, we’ve asked for readers to contribute their own Christmas traditions and family stories. By sharing traditions, everyone gets a better understanding about how Christmas is celebrated around the world.