Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, or Dominican Left Over Day

Pastel en HojaSo it’s the second Christmas I spent in the DR, and was easier because this year I knew what to expect.  AS in on the actual day of Christmas don’t expect and gifts to be given or anything to really happen.  Last year just with how early Christmas tress appear (October) I thought there would be presents for under it.  I guess it’s not really a surprise that a different culture makes it a different holiday.  For Dominicans, at least the families I have observed personally, the big thing is the dinner on Christmas eve, known in spanish as Noche Buena.  Since Rafelina had to work in the morning this year, both years were spent in Cambita with her side of the family.  The preparations started on Saturday, as Ronelka and Rafienny began to peel a mountain of plantains and green bananas.  The viveres were then ground and mixed with seasoning and wrapped up in plantain leaves to make pasteles en hojas.  After they are boiled, you remove the filling and many cover it with mayonnaise.  I tried the offering, but it wasn’t my preferred Prepping the Pigstyle.  The day before they began preparing the meat, of which there was chicken, turkey, and pig.  I just had to take a picture of the seasoning being worked into the pig.  When the meal was served last night, there were at least 16 dishes on the table, including empanadas, salad, nuts, candy.  Relatives arrived, a prayer was said and then we began to eat.

The rest of the night passed just hanging out, music was playing, and as you can see some people made use of the social time to Shucking Peasdo the predominant activity of pea season, and shuck peas.

So then comes Christmas day.  What I was just informed is a national holiday – Dia de Califiicacion.  In other words, no one thing will be cooked today, but the microwave will be in use.

If there are gifts to be given, the family would wait til January 6th, DIa de los Magos (King’s Day) and it would only be for the young children.

All the foodRonelka was asking what we would do in the States, so I told her some of my family’s tradition, and she said from movies it looks great.  I do miss it, more the seeing my family.  But to make myself feel I am celebrating today I am watching White Christmas and A Chipmunk Christmas, and Anna bought me a pack of cookies that I have saved to be a treat.  So don’t worry I don’t regret choosing Thanksgiving as the time to visit the States.

Feliz Navidad y un Ano Prospero,

Ashley

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