News / USA

Texas Christmas Features Tamales, Cowboys

Texas Christmas Features Tamales, Cowboysi
X
December 12, 2013 9:26 PM
In Texas, Christmas and New Year's celebrations are similar to those in the rest of the United States, but Mexican culture and the state's cowboy heritage both contribute a special flavor. VOA's Greg Flakus has more in this report from San Antonio.
Greg Flakus
In Texas, Christmas and New Year's celebrations are similar to those in the rest of the United States, but Mexican culture and the state's cowboy heritage both contribute a special flavor.

A lone star, the symbol of Texas, sits atop a tall tree in front of the Alamo, a Spanish mission where Texas rebels fought to the death against the Mexican army in 1836.

But the people who gather here on cold December evenings, leading up to Christmas, seek peace and harmony.

And regardless of their ethnic background, they favor Mexican food for the holiday.

"We make our own food like tamales and menudo," said one man.

"We traditionally have tamales on Christmas eve with other kind of hors d'ouerves kind of stuff. It is really not the turkey meal that you see in the movies or maybe that is what they do up north," a woman said.

Cowboy capital

Nearby, The Riverwalk is decorated with Christmas lights, but the cold temperatures discourage outdoor dining.

On sunny days, city folk can head to Texas Hill Country, to the small town of Bandera. It calls itself The Cowboy Capital of the World.

Cowboy singers and musicians meet frequently at Bandera's Frontier Times Museum.

Lew Pewterbaugh runs a ranch outside Bandera where he keeps several horses.

"Christmas time, I generally try to give them some apples or carrots or something." he said. "I know that they do not realize that it is a special day, but they appreciate the treat."

Poetry has long been popular among cowboys, and Lee Haile does a cowboy variation on the classic poem The Night Before Christmas, which tells the story of Santa Claus and his reindeer sled.

"He said, 'gittyup [get going], you old nag, and as his rig disappeared off into the stars, we heard a small voice that come from afar, 'Come on you old mules or I will tan your hide, have a Merry Christmas, y'all and y'all have a good night," sang cowboy-style singer Lee Haile.

Family tradition

Haile grew up on a ranch that served as the anchor for his extended family.

"Christmas was always a big gathering time with the family," he said. "We always ended up at the ranch out there, and so cousins and people who were no longer around [living nearby] all migrated back to the ranch and then we had Christmas there."

Today there are few family ranches in central Texas, but Haile said he and other performers keep the cowboy heritage alive for visitors from near and far.

"We get people from Germany, Switzerland, England all the time, and when they get here they are already decked out [dressed in cowboy outfits], and sometimes they know as much or more about the culture as we do," he said.

Haile said at this time of year, he feels the influence of both holiday and cowboy traditions.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid