Carving Pumpkins and Roasting Pumpkin Seeds in Mexico

As our neighbor and heavy consumer of American culture, Mexicans have incorporated a little Halloween into their Day of the Dead (Nov 1 & 2) festivities. Some kids will go trick-or-treating and wear costumes beyond the Day of the Dead tradition of calavera faces and catrina costumes but carving pumpkins is still exclusively American. When backpacking trough Mexico and Central America in 2013, my Mexican cousins were elated when I announced we’d be carving pumpkins.

 

Cousins and their friend carving pumpkins in Toluca, Mexico

Playing with gooey pumpkin seeds and innards. Toluca, México

 

Cousins and their friend carving pumpkins in Toluca, Mexico

Jack-o-lanterns in Toluca, México

 

Cousins carving pumpkins in Querétaro, Mexico

My cousin carving pumpkins in Querétaro, México

 

Thanksgiving dinner at the “Chicken Lady” in Nicaragua

I didn’t eat turkey or any other traditional fixings on Thanksgiving. Instead, I spent Thanksgiving with a group of friends from NYC at a San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua legend, the “chicken lady,” The “chicken lady” serves traditional fare: roasted chicken, fried (savory) plantains and gallo pinto (rice and red beans).

 

Eating at the Chicken Lady in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Thanksgiving dinner at the chicken lady with my Nicaraguan surf instructor and our friend, Jeynner in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

 

Christmas at an American-Argentine Household in El Salvador

During the lead up to Christmas, my friend and I went Christmas shopping, wrapped gifts, made sugar and chocolate chip cookies and went to Antiguo Cuscatlán to see their magnificent square all lit up. From Mexico to Patagonia, Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve and at midnight every household sets off fireworks. The Christmas Eve sky could melt the grinch’s heart.

 

Making Christmas Cookies in San Salvador, El Salvador

My friend’s son in San Salvador, El Salvador cookie cutting

 

Making Christmas Cookies in San Salvador, El Salvador

Eating cooking dough and licking icing is the best part. San Salvador, El Salvador

 

Christmas Scene in the Park in San Salvador, El Salvador

Christmas scenes in Antiguo Cuscatlán, El Salvador

 

Holiday Decorations in San Salvador, El Salvador

Holiday toys and decorations for sale at the Christmas festival in Antiguo Cuscatlán, El Salvador

 

For Christmas Eve dinner, we had my friend’s family’s traditional German soup. My friend’s nanny said in her Salvadoran town they mostly eat chicken. People don’t eat turkey because “they’d steal them.” Later, we watched Love Actually and placed Santa’s gifts around the tree. In El Salvador the gift exchange happens on New Year’s. On Christmas, we ate Argentina’s staple, Panettone for breakfast, drank apple cider for a snack and had turkey for dinner.

 

Christmas Eve Dinner San Salvador, El Salvador

We determined this was the best Christmas Eve dinner pic. San Salvador, El Salvador

 

 

3 Holidays, 3 Countries in Latin America

3 Holidays, 3 Countries in Latin America

 

3 Holidays and 3 Countries, Latin America

3 Holidays and 3 Countries, Latin America

 

3 Holidays, 3 Countries, Latin America

3 Holidays, 3 Countries, Latin America

 

Spending 3 consecutive holidays in 3 different countries: Halloween in Mexico, Thanksgiving in Nicaragua and Christmas in El Salvador.