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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid