Dia de Accion de Gracias (Thanksgiving) as Celebrated in Northeastern Mexico

Thanksgiving in the United States

Our Thanksgiving holiday tradition in the United States traces its origins to the 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. Evidence has also been found for an earlier harvest celebration on the continent by Spanish explorers in Florida during 1565, as well as a thanksgiving feasts in the Virginia Colony. The initial thanksgiving observance at Virginia in 1619 was prompted by the colonists’ leaders on the anniversary of their settlement. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted after a good harvest. - Wikipedia

The First Thanksgiving Day, painted by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863–1930)

Día de Acción de Gracias (Thanksgiving) as Celebrated in Northeastern Mexico

Thanksgiving in the Mexican states of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas is called Día de Acción de Gracias (it literally means Thanksgiving). It is also celebrated with a turkey and all the trimmings as in any typical American thanksgiving dinner with the occasional Mexican side dish of rice. Just to make it clear it is not a celebration to the Spanish explorer’s in Florida but it is the same one that American’s celebrate with its roots dating back to the Plymouth celebration.

Through both sides of my family, my ancestors can be traced coming back and forth to the United States as early as the 1800′s, with each time returning to their lands in Mexico, thus picking up many American traditions. Also through both sides of the family migration to the United States started in the 1970′s and when ever the kids had a holiday the families would return to the ranches and with them they brought the Thanksgiving celebration to Mexico. This is the same type of story that has been repeated with many families in this area and it is still being repeated to this date throughout this region. Don’t get me wrong not every family celebrates it, the ones that celebrate it are those with roots and or ties to the United States and the occasional families that copied the tradition from those families.

While the children in these families do know the story of the pilgrims, many of them and their parents do not know it. Regardless, they have adopted it and each year they celebrate it with the focal point, as all Americans, they give thanks to God for all that they have and all their blessings.

My Earliest Memory of Dia de Accion de Gracias (Thanksgiving)

The earliest recollection of Thanksgiving in Mexico was at my grandfather’s house in El Arcabuz, Tamaulipas, Mexico. I can remember the adults gathered around the table in conversation eagerly awaiting the food to be ready.

The children (us) were always playing outside or in the school yard which was conveniently across the street from my grandfathers house. The food was always the same, Turkey, Stuffing, Yams, Rolls, and the only Mexican food was Rice. If I can remember right we always ate after the adults. At the time I must have been about six or seven, time sure does fly and our memories tend to fade even as we try so hard to hold on tight to them.

Happy Thanksgiving Enjoy Your Families!

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