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Christmas in the Puerto Rican Diaspora

To mark the end of the “official” Christmas season in Puerto Rico, we share some links to the online magazine La Respuesta, which focuses on gathering the experience of the Puerto Rican diaspora in the United States, about some thoughts regarding Puerto Rican Christmas traditions by two authors living in the diaspora.

Yessenia Flores Díaz, in her post “Preparando para las Navidades en la Casa de Abuela,” remembers her Christmastime experiences during her childhood while growing up in Brooklyn, New York, when visiting her grandmother's apartment:

You can only imagine the energy inside my abuelita’s tiny two-bedroom apartment during this time of year, the beginning of Advent, when she received her offspring and their offspring and their offspring’s offspring.  My family is huge and to give you an idea, my dad is number 17 of 19 children born to Felix and Regina Flores (en paz descanse) in rural Puerto Rico [...].  Yes, you read that correctly.  It is not a typo.  I come from a large, loving family.

Dorian Ortega, in her post “My Acculturatd Chrismas: An Introduction to Acculturated Stress and Cultural Buffers,” explains the ways that Puerto Rican immigrants have dealt with acculturated stress provoked by suddenly having to live in a culture quite different from theirs. One of thos ways is by holing on to their Christmas traditions:

Puerto Ricans have immigrated to the U.S. for over 60 years and for the first time in this century, outnumber the population in Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans continue to rank highest among Latina/os for mental illnesses and have experienced their share of acculturative stressors. However, studies show that a strong cultural identity and adaptability serve as great protective buffers. My family, like many others, have found ways to hold on to our traditions brought by our ancestors and adapted them for the generations raised in a country with both similar and conflicting values. The holidays have served as a way to relate to one another and bring peace, which helps in times of distress.

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