Tampa Bay Area Hispanics celebrate Noche Buena

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) — December 24th is a special day for Bay Area Hispanics.

“It’s not just Christmas Eve, it’s ‘Noche Buena’ and the family meal and the traditions that go along with it,” says Safety Harbor resident, Aimee Busquet.

Her husband Eddie is keeping their Cuban heritage alive, roasting a whole pig, or “lechon” for a family dinner feast. It’s an all-day event that starts late morning, explains Eddie who is using a “Caja China,” a traditional roasting box used by many Cuban families.

Different Hispanic cultures add their own flavor to the holidays. Colombian families celebrate with a sweet treat called “natilla.” Similar to custard, it’s served very firm and tastes of milk and cinnamon.

Mexican families have brought the “posada” tradition to the United States. In Mexican neighborhoods, families recreate Joseph and Mary’s search for an inn to have the baby Jesus by visiting neighbors’ homes, with song and prayer.

Puerto Rican family’s keep their fridge stocked this time of year. The “parranda” tradition brings up-beat Latin music with recognizable chants unannounced from home to home.

“I remember when I was a kid it was 1 a.m., and suddenly I started hearing the music outside. I would go wake up my parent and there’s a parranda going on,” says Rafael Castro of A Son De Plena, a Puerto Rican band for hire during the holidays in the Tampa area.

As Hispanic families grow in the U.S., many, like Aimee Busquet, are hoping future generations will keep these traditions alive.

Her daughter, Nikki Busquet George, tells News Channel 8 she and her husband plan on doing just that. “Whether we’ve got a little bit of lechón and maybe a turkey, we want to incorporate as much of his own family traditions with mine.”

WFLA.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s