The tradition of giving thanks in Mexico

Thanksgiving, as we know it, is not an internationally recognized holiday. In the United States, our ancestors selected this day in November hundreds of years ago to mark the end of the harvest season, and to display their gratitude for the bounty that it had provided. They celebrated by sharing a feast with their family members, friends and neighbors. Even though most of us no longer work the land, we still sit down to a big meal, usually at the center of which is a roasted turkey, and give thanks for the blessings of family, food, friends and our good fortune in general.

In Mexico, there is not one single day in which the citizens choose to show their thanks for the good fortunes in their lives and the gifts they receive from God. As a culture, they tend to recognize their blessings and feel gratitude throughout the year. They thank God for giving them the ability to put food on the table and a roof over their heads, and the gift of life itself. Instead of taking a single day during the year to recognize these things, they choose to feel grateful each day.

There are, however, many similarities in the way the season is celebrated. Their houses are also decorated to reflect a harvest theme with colorful leaves, wreaths, and vegetables such as gourds. Mexicans do have big feasts that include traditional dishes as well, though the fare is quite different. While we have what might be considered rather bland food: turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes, the traditional Mexican dishes are spicy and colorful. Some of the popular items are Mexican chorizo pumpkin soup, mango salsa, fruit and nut bread pudding, and chile-cranberry salsa.

Turkey is also not the main event on the Mexican table during their festivals of gratitude. You may see it make an appearance in a side dish such as turkey tacos or turkey enchiladas, but it generally does not occupy the center of the table. A more traditional choice would be roasted pork stuffed with chiles, peppers, onion, garlic and various other spices to create a rich, spicy dish.

Wherever and however you chose to celebrate your Thanksgiving holiday this year, I hope you had many blessings for which to be thankful and the support of family and good friends around you.

Guest blogger, Jacqui Keady, is a freelance writer and lifelong reader of mystery and romance novels. She lives in Folsom, California with her husband of nearly 30 years and two beloved dogs.