My Holiday Traditions

Nia Armstrong | July 21, 2022

As time moves forward, things seem to change so rapidly it can make your head spin. Just look at the last few years! Yet no matter where you come from, customs and traditions are ingrained in all of us. These are the constants in an ever changing world. The memories of the things we did and, well, what we ate, stick with us.

As a black woman, I was blessed to grow up with an incredibly rich background. Born to an African American mother with *egregiously* Southern parents and a Haitian-American father with more tightly wound parents, I got to see multiple sides of the diaspora. I grew up Christian, and Christmas was a huge deal in my family. My mother's 6 brothers would all return to the city and go to my Grandma's house, where the love was far greater than the square footage. I remember her starting the cooking days before the holiday. The smells that filled the room also filling my heart.

And while the whole dramatic undertaking was all so exciting, Yams: A caramelized sweet potato loaded with brown sugar and toasted marshmallows (if we were lucky) made Christmas MOST exciting. At my grandma's house it was customary to pray over our food and then… pray that there would be enough left for seconds. Southern soul food is warm and decadent enough to fix anything broken and although my family was full to the brim with dysfunction, our holidays ended with even fuller bellies.