El Dia de los Reyes Magos, Ravs & Tradition

Sorry for my absence. Between illness (still have Sjogren's Syndrome & Lupus...no cure yet) and the holidays, I've had a fair amount of time to gather some thoughts on tradition.

First, I married into an Italian family. Think My Fat Greek Wedding, only they eat a lot of pasta and are, if possible, even louder. Quite intimidating the first time you are in the middle of all of this. Anyway, my husband is half Italian. Cubans aren't the only ones to have traditions carry on to America. Rodney's family has a tradition of Christmas soup, which is essentially sausage-stuffed tortellini in a tomato/chicken broth. It's the making of the tortellini that is tradition. Used to be that the matriarchs of the family prepared the pasta (which his family has called "ravs") and was also true for his family. As his mom grew older and her family grew larger, she was struggling to keep up with the demand, so my husband began helping her when he was home on break from earning his PhD. It's still a lot of work for two people, so as a PhD candidate, he decided to conduct an experiment to draw other family members into the fold by creating a "rav competition" where family members would help and whoever had the most perfect "rav"  (the ravs were judged by his oldest sister, who had RA since childhood) would come home with the travelling trophy. It was a hit, and we even carried on the tradition a couple of years after his mom and sister passed. It wasn't the same though, the family lost interest, and we had no ravs for a couple of years. Rodney, my daughter, her fiance and I made all the ravs one year, but once the kids moved west, we were down to just two of us to carry on the tradition. So, we bought an actual ravioli template but used the same recipe. Now hubs & I make all the ravs for the family. They chip in for the cost of the ingredients, but it's our gift to them to do the work, and worth it to bring the entire family together for a happy occasion. The ravioli template (versus the rolling of tortellini) cuts the time in half...because I'm the one who actually takes the dough to create the ravs, my husband brought out the trophy again (I think he just wanted an excuse to display it on our mantel! lol), and for the first time ever, I was awarded the trophy--in all fairness, I had ZERO competition! haha I'm in the middle in the off-white with stripes hoodie, holding said trophy in the photo below.

 The tradition I brought into the marriage was Wisemen's Day, or El Dia de los Reyes Magos (Day of the Magi Kings, literally). My family always celebrated the Epiphany on January 6th--the 12th day of Christmas when the baby Christ was reputed to receive his gifts and accolades. As a child growing up in the farmlands of midwestern America, I felt lucky, because my peers always seemed to suffer from post-holiday let-down. My cousins and I never did, because after the BIG holiday (where we differ from our Cuban relatives--the big day for kids is January 6th there whereas our big day was still Christmas after Santa arrived, but then the Magi came with a humbler offering of gifts a couple of weeks later) we still had another holiday to look forward to with more gifts, though smaller, and more candy too!

All this talk of Cuba is going somewhere, although I really do feel my Cuban heritage most of all during December and January every single year. Anyway, I may have an opportunity to go to Cuba, instead of Florida, this month!! A few details to work out, so it is only a 50/50 proposition right now, but this is the penultimate bucket list trip for me. I'm 2nd generation American and Cuba has been closed off to me for pretty much my entire life. I'm trying to keep an open mind about this--I definitely know it isn't my grandma's Cuba of 75 years ago. I know it isn't even the same Cuba that my cousins (who were my pen pals back in the day, but have now either passed away, or relocated to the USA) talked about in the 80s and 90s. But...just to put my feet on the same soil where my biggest heroine was born is amazing to contemplate. I also don't speak Cuban Spanish as well as Tico Spanish now, so the accent might actually be something to consider there, as well. Trying to not get my hopes up. Hoping this can be a possibility and actuality...and knowing it will happen if it is meant to be.

A very happy New Year and new decade to anyone who is reading. So far, looks like I have a grand total of one follower, and I am forever grateful for her friendship! But anyone else who happens along, I wish you the same positive greeting. Namaste.


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