In our multi-cultural city of Puerto Vallarta, holidays of many diverse origins are celebrated con gusto and often adapted to take on local flavors and characters of their own. Thanksgiving, as scheduled in the USA, is an especially important holiday here as it is typically the first big week for tourism in our region. Most of our Canadian amigos enthusiastically accept a second chance for a turkey feast following their earlier October celebration. And many nationals have long embraced the occasion too, especially those who have family members living beyond Mexico’s northern border.
Most local pizza ovens become commandeered by turkey chefs in preparation for this special occasion. Centerpieces upon Vallartense tables this week often feature anthuriums, bromeliads, heliconias, and other flamboyant flowers that would have knocked the smocks off the Plymouth Plantation Pilgrims had the Mayflower only taken them farther south.
The day after Thanksgiving often finds us enjoying turkey tacos and other creative and savory Pilgrim-Mex fusion dishes while many of those north of the border shovel snow and trudge through Black Friday shopping lines in crowded malls.
Even vegetarians can celebrate Thanksgiving with a twist and have so many mouthwatering options to choose from that the smell of turkey need not prove an irresistible temptation.
– Butternut squash stuffed tamales
– Poblano chile soup with avocado slices
– Cornbread and fennel stuffing
– Chipotle pumpkin pie
Feasting is best enjoyed when it brings people together to recollect and create new memories. The Plymouth Plantation Thanksgiving of 1621 was enjoyed not just by the pilgrims, but with their Wampanoag neighbors. While the historical record informs us that tradition has since romanticized the actual situation between these two cultures at the time, the fact remains that they did indeed come together under peace in celebration of the bounty they were all able to share.
“[O]ur harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a more special manner rejoice together … [There were] many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest King Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted.”
– Pilgrim Edward Winslow’s description of the 1621 Thanksgiving
Here in our melting pot of Puerto Vallarta, where natural tropical bounty meets the conveniences of the modern world, and a fascinating diversity of people weave their stories together, Thanksgiving is indeed a perfect holiday to share.
With heartfelt thanks to our Vallartense community,