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HAM – A Reminder of Christmas!

It is only November 14, and it already begins to look like Christmas. Soon it will begin to feel like it. Today there are already a few businesses putting out the lights and decorations that remind us of Christmas. Today Christmas is all about lights, clothing and the amenities that go with celebrations.

Without television we lived in some form of ignorance because world news got to us very late. Life was also a bit boring for we did not have those exciting movies and soap operas or “novelas” as we call them. Because we did not have the movies, parents entertained their children with a whole range of fables and folk tales, legends and myths. There were master storytellers of stories of El Duende, El Sisimito, El Xtabai, La Llorona, and El Tatabalan. Boys and girls were experts in stories of Las Animas, and other spirits that roamed the village streets during the month of November which is the month of the souls.

Anyway back to the feeling of Christmas. Simply hanging one of these smoked hams from the ceiling of the kitchen gave the family a sense of Christmas. It meant that the family was well off to be able to afford a good Christmas meal. And indeed, a few families could not afford it. These hams were usually purchased around the 15th. of December and the children would insist that it be opened and baked. However, it was mom’s and dad’s decision that it would be prepared until the 23rd. of December and the first bite would be made on December 24th., Christmas Eve.

Do you have any clue why hams were so special back then? It was simply because they were not available during the rest of the year. Today you get your hams in all varieties throughout the year. In fact, I believe that this year you will be eating for the first time that special ham prepared in San Pedro. Yes, you heard it right, in San Pedro because San Pedro is now the home of the Sausage Factory that produces a variety of delicious sausages and even smoked ham. Now we can eat hams throughout the year, so it is not a special Christmas delicacy. Now Christmas is about parties and booze.

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