By Sanah Faroke, Staff Writer
I was raised celebrating traditional American holidays—at least, they seemed traditional to me. But seeing as my mother is Jamaican and my father is Indian, their views certainly impacted my view of a traditional holiday. Living in Miami, I grew up alongside Hispanic culture infused into everything, even without me noticing the impact of its influence.
With the most American tradition of all time, Thanksgiving, coming up within a matter of days, I’m beginning to notice that nothing I’ve really experienced in my hometown has been truly American.
Every year for Thanksgiving, my family and I would walk to our neighbor’s house in the Miami fall (if you can call it that) weather, wearing sleeveless dresses and open toe shoes. As soon as we stepped foot into my neighbors’ house, Spanglish emerged from all corners. The smell of arroz con gandules, jamon, ensalada de papa and maduros filled the room, as well as turkey, of course.
I could never understand how the smell could make my mouth water so much until I sunk my teeth into the chicken and realized it was because I was in heaven. I had the best of two worlds―one American and one Hispanic. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
This year, for the first time, I won’t be able to taste delicious flan, pastel de choclo or drink sangria, and it just might be torture. For the first time, I’m going to be in New England for Thanksgiving. It seems appropriate for the very traditional cranberry sauce, turkey with gravy and stuffing Thanksgiving. While being in Massachusetts gives me the opportunity to finally experience a traditional Thanksgiving, turns out I’ll be having an Indian Thanksgiving instead. Yes, it’ll be my first too.
To be honest, I have no idea what to really expect. Maybe the turkey will have chili powder on it and the house will smell like spices and curry. And in the absence of Spanish, Urdu would be the dominant language in the house. Would we pray in English? Would we get out the prayer rugs or skip that ritual all together? For sure we would not end the prayer with “In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
One thing is certain: although the last time I saw my Indian relatives was when I went to India about six years ago, they are still my family, like the ones I left back home. They probably don’t speak Spanish, eat smoked ham or allow me to wear sleeveless dresses (although I wouldn’t want to in this cold New England weather), but with them, I’ll be able to make new traditions.
I’ll relish over the tomato chutney, samosa and vegetarian biryani (with a tall glass of water on the side). I may not be able to watch “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” as I usually do every year, but it’s possible I can persuade them, surely for the children to enjoy. (Okay, and a small part of it for me, too.)
Whatever kind of Thanksgiving you’re having—whether it’s a Hispanic, Indian or a Charlie Brown one—be sure to give thanks, indulge in amazing food and make new traditions.