Preserving Our Traditions
Recipes, holiday celebrations, language, and traditions become a bridge to connect the collective memory of many people that arrive in a new territory in search of building a new life according to the new communities and land where they now live.
Mrs. Prada shares her recipe for Costa Rican tamales. In this part of the process she is assembling the tamal in the plantain leaf.
"These traditions help us to understand better how to maintain our customs, languages and cultural practices. Although we have moved to other places where we probably do not find other countrymen or family, but we form communities that are different friendships and new generations that come." – Dr. Xóchitl Chávez, guest Cultural Anthropologist.
Learn about the process of making Chilean "Humitas" with Family Miron Figueroa.
Mrs. Nelson is preparing "Paches" from the eastern region of Guatemala. "Pache" means flat/without height, these tamales, as they are made of potatoes and not of maize, they are less robust than a tamale made out of corn, for that reason they are called "Paches."
Costa Rican tamales are traditionally prepared in sets of two because of the consistency of the leaf and the size of the tamal. They are also considered as great gifts for families and friends visiting for the holidays, so two tamales make a traditional giveaway.
Watch our special broadcast making tamales "Ticos."
"Chiles poblanos are one of my favorite kinds of chilli peppers both from my childhood and now. Their flavor is exquisite, mild and fresh. I grew up eating them stuffed with queso fresco or sliced into rajas mixing in kernels of corn and coupled into freshly made corn tortillas; all the while, my mother’s home was filled with this aroma."– From "My Heart with Chiles Poblanos" on our blog by Scholar and Writer, Xanath Caraza
Three Generations of the Sanchez Family
"La familia Sanchez is from the St. Louis Valley, in Colorado. That area has a little bit of a history, because it used to pertain to Mexico. In 1848 there was the Mexican American War where we saw this type of moving of borders. But in these areas there were actually indigenous communities as well as earlier settlers from Spanish heritage. So this particular region of the St. Louis Valley is the oldest established town in the state of Colorado in 1851. In learning about that we see how different foodways have made it into the area of Denver, Colorado." – Dr. Xóchitl Chávez, guest Cultural Anthropologist.
Learn more about the Green Chile Tamales recipe and the traditions of the Sánchez Family.
These are Mexican tamales for the Dia de la Candelaria, celebration that follows the Three Kings Festivities. It is celebrated on February 2nd with a great "tamalada."
Follow the conversation with the Pineda-Reyes Family about what it means to maintain cultural traditions in Colorado and questions of acculturation.
The Rios Family has built a reputation around the woodyard business and they connect their identity and meaning of home to the childhood memories around the wood, the fireplace and their family gatherings over lunch.
"Wood represents our culture. It creates warmth for the home. We make fire. It's an integration of our culture and a way of life especially in New Mexico. People would go and gather their wood, they cut it, sell it, perhaps they trade it, it's how people keep warm. The smell of wood burning in the winter... to me that's home." –Michelle Rios, Member of the Rios family from Santa Fe, New Mexico.
"Acculturation doesn't mean you have to forget where you are coming from, it means you can adjust and incorporate who you are into a new way of life" –Fernando Pineda, member of the Pineda-Reyes family.
Watch our special broadcast with the Pineda-Reyes Family about what it means to maintain cultural traditions in Colorado and questions of acculturation.
"Understanding our mestizo heritage of mixing Indigenous and Spanish cultures, the history of los Reyes, originally from Spain, mixed with chocolate caliente, originally from the Americas, is very representative." Xanath Caraza, guest Scholar and Writer
Dr. Xóchtil Chávez, Cultural Anthropologist
Dr. Xanath Caraza, Writer, Poet, Scholar
Melissa Carrillo, Creative Director, SLC
Paola Ramírez, Digital Media Specialist
All rights reserved images and video courtesy of the Smithsonian Latino Center Digital Collections.
Visit the SLC Mobile Broadcast Archive to learn more about Latino cultural traditions.