The Mind Wobbles

So many things to absorb, think about, deal with and put up with - it simply makes the mind wobble...

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Noche Buena

(While I write this I'm watching the ABT Mikhail Baryshnikov/Gelsey Kirkland version of The Nutcracker, filmed in 1977 where he is phenomenally at his "Baryshnikoviest" and Kirkland, although in the midst of physical and psychological devastation, is absolutely ethereal. Their pas de deux in the second act is breathtaking! If you haven't see it, you can rent the DVD. While different from the traditional Nutcracker, I strongly recommend it so you can see what is IMO one of the best ballet pairings in history.)

Noche Buena is what most, if not all, Spanish-speaking countries call Christmas Eve. In Cuba, where my parents are from, it's a bigger celebration than Christmas day.

In my family our big meal of roast pork was tonight. We would get together with family and friends - there was always an average of 20-25 people eating together. Because my family never roasted the pig ourselves (that's a full day event), we would gather at whoever's house at around 6 p.m. and wind up sitting down to dinner at around 8 p.m. There would be roast pork (either the whole pig or the pork leg), black beans, white rice and yuca
with mojo (sour orange, garlic, olive oil, onion and more garlic marinade). There was always either a turkey or a capon prepared like a turkey (personally I prefer capon - more flavor). For dessert there's different types of turron , assorted nuts, figs, dates and some kind of pie or cake.

After dinner everyone would sit around the tree and open presents - the kids opening the presents friends and family gave them, as Santa's presents wouldn't arrive until Christmas day. Some years - if we were inspired and sufficiently sober - we'd go to midnight mass, but that didn't happen too often.

On Christmas morning (using the term loosely) everyone would stay home opening Santa's presents, etc. Then at around 3 p.m. someone would have an open house where whoever wanted to stop by would. Whoever hosted the night before would use the left over turkey/capon and pork to make "monteria" which is like a fricasse and is delicious!

As the years passed and the older folks passed away the Cuban tradition has melded with American traditions. Tonight however, we are going to a relatively traditional Noche Buena celebration at a friend's house.

I hope all who read this have a wonderful holiday surrounded by beloved friends and family!

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Blogger Dixie said...

I always love to hear about the different ways folks around the world celebrate Christmas. Your celebrations sounds like something I'd love.

I hope it was a lovely Christmas for you.

4:49 PM  

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