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From Noche Buena to Filipino Parols: Yelp Community Team’s Holiday Traditions!

Yelp’s Community Managers hype businesses in their cities for a living, so this holiday season we’ve asked Yelp CMs to hype their favorite family holiday traditions. 

Diandra L, Yelp Miami Community Director

“Most Latinx traditions involve gathering and food. For Cuban-Americans celebrating Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) in Miami is all about roasting a pig, which is a labor of love that takes almost the whole day, in something called la Caja China.

My favorite thing about Noche Buena in Miami is that you can roll your windows down and drive anywhere in the city – and everything smells like roasted pork. On that day, we are truly united as a Cuban-American community with one of the most special and beloved holiday traditions for our culture.”

Blue A, Yelp Fort Lauderdale Senior Community Director II

“For New Years I always have 12 grapes right at midnight! In Cuban tradition, the 12 grapes represent the months of the new year. You should make a wish with each grape. As an adult I’ve started to freeze the grapes, and put them into champagne glasses and fill with champagne. After chugging my midnight toast, all that’s left in my glass are 12 wishes. I’ve made all of my friends partake in this tradition. Even if I’m not hosting the party, best believe I bring my bag of grapes and encourage everyone to partake.”

Kimi S, Yelp DC Senior Community Director

“Every year, my mother hangs up a string of ‘parols’ (traditional Filipino star lanterns made out of capiz shells) to decorate for the holidays. Traditional Filipino families start decorating for Christmas in September and don’t take their decorations down till after January, so hanging a parol up gives my mother a nostalgic taste of home.”

Gretel Y, Yelp Atlanta OTP Community Manager

“My Filipino family celebrates New Year’s Eve with a big feast that usually includes pancit (noodles), for long life, and lots of fireworks. We also wear polka dots, fill up our pockets with loose change to shake at midnight, and have round fruit on display. Filipinos believe that round is a symbol for prosperity and fortune.”

Ashley F, Yelp Charlotte Community Manager

“Growing up a military kid we had the traditional black family holiday things as far as food goes! In high school we moved to Tampa, FL and some neighbors told us about a really cool tradition the neighborhood had been doing for years. They would line all of their driveways with brown lunch bags, put sand in them to hold them down and then a tea candle. They did this Christmas Eve at sunset. The entire neighborhood was lit up and it was magical! We continued that tradition even after we moved away!”

Meg B, Yelp Omaha Community Manager

“My paternal grandma, Kitty was Lebanese and moved here from Lebanon as a kid. For our big Christmas gatherings, instead of ham or turkey for dinner, my grandma made Kibbeh nayyeh (raw lamb) as well as cooked Kibbeh, for the young kids. We had grape leaves and Tabbouleh for sides and we all sat around breaking endless amounts of pita bread. This year we can’t all be together, so my brother and I will be making Kibbeh and grape leaves for my mom and dad.”

Jando S, Yelp Queens Senior Community Director

“During my childhood, going to a posada party (derived from “Las Posadas” tradition in various Latin American countries) was extremely common. The modernized tradition included caroling to different nearby homes and ending the evenings with a party that included piñata breaking, rompope (Mexican eggnog) and ponche (mulled wine/punch) beverages, holiday themed red/green/gold colored tamales, and a baked pandulce called “Rosca de Reyes” which is the equivalent to a King Cake.”

Sara B, Yelp North Jersey Senior Community Director

“On Hanukkah we always make latkes (fried potato pancakes) — not only are they delicious, but they are also symbolic. Latkes represent the miracle of oil which lasted for eight days in the temple when it was only supposed to last for one. This is why Hanukkah is eight nights, and why we eat tasty oily dishes.”

Morlene C, Yelp Brooklyn Community Manager

“My mom always told us we must wear brand new clothes on New Year’s Day, everything, even down to our socks and underwear, must be brand new because what we do on New Year’s sets the tone for the rest of the year and we want to be dressed in our best.”

Adam S, Yelp Kansas City Senior Community Director

“Our family gets together with friends on the Solstice and does a holiday light walk through the neighborhood. There’s something optimistic about celebrating the neighborhood light displays on the darkest day of the year. We cap it off with a potluck dinner and gift exchange.”

Michelle C, Yelp Philadelphia Senior Community Director

“My grandfather was Polish, and Polish Catholics have a Christmas tradition that involves exchanging pieces of a thin wafer called Oplatki before Christmas Eve dinner. The wafer starts with the eldest members of the family and is shared until everyone exchanges with each other. Wishes for a merry Christmas and health in the new year are part of each exchange.”

Annette J, Yelp Detroit Senior Community Director

“My mom, aunt and grandparents emigrated from Poland during the period of Martial Law, so our Polish heritage is still very much celebrated in our household during the holidays. One of my favorite traditions is our Christmas Eve dinner, Wigilia.

The traditional Polish Wigilia has 12 meatless dishes but we pair it down to just our favorites: a spread featuring pierogi (filled dumplings), kapusta (braised cabbage), fried fish, rye bread, potato salad, and a sour beet soup with mushroom dumplings. For dessert we have cookies like kołaczki (a cream cheese cookie with apricot or raspberry filling) and honey cake and enjoy those with a cup of tea and an American holiday movie.”

Carla D, Yelp Jacksonville Community Manager

“Growing up Greek Orthodox we would have Vasilopita (Greek New Year’s bread) on New Year’s Day. Traditionally a coin is hidden inside it when it’s done baking. Whoever gets a slice of the bread with the coin in it is supposed to have good luck for the rest of the year.”

No matter how you celebrate the holidays, we hope you find joy this holiday season!