5 Ways Latinos Celebrate Thanksgiving Differently

by Fernanda Calvo

Cranberry sauce? Green bean casserole? Homemade cornbread? Football games? Hell to the nah. That's what my mama would say.

My mama's been living in this country for well over 30 years, and to this day none of these foods are part of our Thanksgiving spread.

I always wonder if non-Latino Thanksgiving is as perfect as they make it look on TV commercials because my own reality is quite different.

Although Thanksgiving is as American as Baseball, us Latinos have made it our own and we love to celebrate it.

Where there's food and families gathering, there's us ready to get down and party.

Here are five Thanksgiving traditions you'll find in Latino homes:

1. Lots Of Alcohol

Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks. It's a day for families to get together, share food, enjoy each other's company and maybe play a quick game of football.

But for Latinos? It's also a day to party.

Mom and grandma will be slaving in the kitchen for hours and Dad will probably be on the recliner watching "La Rosa De Guadalupe."

But after dinner, everyone will be doing tequila shots and drinking Coquito, Pisco sours or Refajo.

Alcohol is as much a part of the menu as playing salsa, bachata, merengue and reggaeton music is.

We drink and dance because we have so much to be thankful for, but also just because we can find any excuse to have a fiesta.

2. Stuffing Your Bird With Another Animal

Most Americans stuff their turkeys with Stove Top, but in Latino homes the idea of that is ludicrous.

We stuff our bird with more animal protein. I've heard of people stuffing their bird with chorizo and bits of pork.

At my house, my mom stuffs it with ground beef and Spanish olives. I'm sorry but Stove Top will just not work for a Hispanic-made Turkey.

3. Rice

I'm pretty sure on Thanksgiving you're supposed to eat foods that were available to the pilgrims and indians on the first Thanksgiving. (Don't quote me on that.)

These foods would be things like corn, pumpkin, turkey, cranberries and yams.

But every Latino knows rice is a must-have at Thanksgiving dinner that can't be replaced.

Yellow rice, white rice, arroz con gandules and even for dessert a delicious arroz con leche for dessert.

Rice is they key to a happy and satisfying dinner.

4. Dinner Is Actually More Like Lunch

Latinas are goddesses in the kitchen. They get up at the crack of dawn to chop, dice, grate, marinate, season, mix, boil, roast, bake, mash and toss foods together.

They're superwomen who cook entire seven course meals before the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is over. I can't begin to tell you how happy this makes everyone.

Latina moms, grandmas and aunts are the real MVPs when it comes to this holiday. But stay out of their way. If you don't, you might get hit with a chancleta.

Seriously, don't try to steal anything or offer any help.

They won't allow you to help, but they'll definitely complain no one does. It's a very emotionally charged holiday.

5. Saying Grace

This one varies from household to household, but in general there's always one time where your uncle Jorge decides it's his turn to say grace. And he takes forever to say it.

He quotes Jesus, Gandhi, Cesar Chavez, Selena and literally anyone else he can think of.

Meanwhile, you're salivating like crazy, your twin cousins Gabriel and Rafael won't stop kicking each other under the table and your grandma is falling asleep.

A millisecond after he says amen all you hear is the melodious sound of silverware coming into contact with a plate full of turkey.