Building Family Traditions

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This post originally appeared on Best Western’s’s blog, where I regularly contribute stories.  I was compensated for this post but the opinions are mine.

As I reflect back on the Fourth of July and our country’s freedom, it’s fun to see how Latin families in the U.S. weave in American traditions with our cultural heritage traditions for American-centric holidays such as this.

For instance, my wife’s Mexican-American family keeps their Sustaita Family traditions alive every Fourth of July week with a major reunion that is going on 30 years. It includes Texas-style BBQ, music, fellowship and even a salute to veterans like my father-in-law. These always make for fun family vacations.

Growing up in Miami, I never paid much attention to how I would celebrate the Fourth of July. My earliest Fourth of July memories are filled with beach visits and even accidentally burning my fingers with sparklers, but this year, I find myself inspired by the Sustaitas. Moving forward, I want to borrow a page from my wife’s family, so here’s what I’m hoping may become part of my Fourth of July family tradition:

Fourth of July 5K Run: To kick off the holiday with a fun but healthy mentality, we enrolled our family in a local, July Fourth-themed 5K run.

Fourth of July Parade: After the 5K run, the Ruiz family drove to the oceanside town of Key Biscayne for a Fourth of July Parade that is considered one of South Florida’s best.

Pool Time, BBQ and Fireworks: A day of running and heat requires some “chillaxation,” so this year we spent the balance of our day at my sister’s new home for a jam-packed visit that featured pool time, BBQ, Texas-styled washers from Target and lots of fireworks (my brother-in-law is notorious for buying enough fireworks that will last several hours into the night).

So there you have it – our new Ruiz family traditions for the Fourth of July. No need to hunt down the best vacation spots (at least for this holiday), we’re happy at home.

How do you incorporate your heritage and culture into your family celebrations?

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