4th of July: Another excuse for Latino families like mine to throw a party!
I love the 4th of July! It's one of my all-time favorite holidays--partly because it's one of the few that is almost guaranteed to fall on a nice weather day, partly it involves awesome festivities (like fireworks), but mostly because my family throws an EPIC party every year that I always look forward to.
I come from a traditional Salvadoran family so it's not like reunions and get-togethers are infrequent. We pretty much have one every other weekend, particular during the summer when we'll pretty much take any excuse to throw a BBQ. But the 4th of July BBQ is special. Why? Because we go ALL OUT (yes, so much so that it deserves capital letters).
Let me paint you a picture of the scene: The party always takes place at my aunt's house on Long Island, who has a big backyard and a decent-sized pool. There is anywhere from 40-60 people, maybe even more, depending on how far it is into the party. There is also lots and lots of food and lots and lots of drinks (alcoholic and otherwise). Everyone always comes happy and excited and ready to have a good time. But the best part of the whole thing? The annual soccer tournament.
Yes, you read that right. My (obviously) super Hispanic family holds a yearly, full-on futbol tournament, complete with teams, jerseys, and prizes. Maybe I should've prefaced this by saying that my uncle owns a soccer store, so this isn't completely crazy and out of the blue. He separates people in teams and gifts jerseys from his store so that each team represents a country (just like Euro 2012!) and then they duke it out on the lawn until one is crowned a champion. There are also prizes, like "Best Goalie, " "MVP," etc (although everybody is really going after the big winning trophy).
Oh, and there's one more thing: only the guys play. Now, normally my feminist, girl-power self would have something to say about how macho that is, but honestly in this case, it's so funny to watch middle-aged men like my dad and uncles try to keep up with my teenage cousins, that none of us girls ever complain. Instead, we sit back, watch, cheer, and laugh...a lot.
The whole tradition is fun and hilarious, but more than that, it's a bonding experience for my entire family and our friends. For us, it's a holiday about family unity, as well as national unity and the party is one that we all always look forward to and that everyone makes time for, no matter what is going on their lives.
Plus, it's just more proof that Latinos know how to celebrate life and party! Happy Fourth of July!
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