UWM Students Share their Thanksgiving Traditions

Nov 24, 2016

We all have our Thanksgiving traditions. Maybe it’s reconnecting with family and eating good food. A few students at UWM shared with Keio Horton, how they celebrate the holiday.

If you have a big family, Thanksgiving may mean a potluck dinner. Katarina Vergara and her family members each bring a dish to share. And she says the dinner always has both American and ethnic flavors.

“It’s tradition to make tameles on the Mexican side of the family. On the Puerto Rican side, it’s tradition to make pasteles,” Vergara shares. “We’ll have rice, Mexican rice. We’ll have different types of meats, different types of deserts and on my dad’s side we’ll have the Puerto Rican type rice and we’ll have turkey on both sides.”

Turkey is usually the main course. But while most of Maggie O’Rourke’s family is enjoying poultry, she, her mother and sister opt for a Thanksgiving salmon.

“It’s kind of something that keeps me, my mom and my sister bonded because we always joke around about. It’s our little inside joke and it keeps us together,” O'Rourke said.

“We usually eat either flounder or trout. Those are the popular ones we like to eat,” said Michael Armanious.

His family also cooks up fish with the people of their church.

For some families, Thanksgiving means traveling. Brandon Anderegg and his clan will spend the weekend in Chicago, with a detour en route.

“On our way down to Chicago, we stop at my grandparents’ house in Racine and we have dinner with my extended family. My grandma sometimes doesn’t want to cook because she always cooks for Christmas and it’s a real hassle to do both for her so sometimes we have Kentucky Fried Chicken.”

While some people travel for Thanksgiving, others stay in the comforts of their living room. Elias Payne and his family typically rent movies from Redbox.

“We like to rent action movies. A lot of action-suspense because we like to talk about and debate about it. Any movies with high conflict,” Payne says.

Payne's favorite – the Transformers movies.

Another popular watch - football. Franky Castillo and his family will again root for their favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys.

“The Cowboys are going to win the Super Bowl. I’m calling that now so I’m really excited. I actually consider myself a good luck charm for them.”

Some traditions may change as families lose or gain members. Danielle Miller’s used to gather at her late grandmother’s house. She fondly remembers flying kites.

“So while the adults cooked, my brother and I would be running out in the yard just back and forth with these little kites, it must have been a ridiculous site from the house,” Miller shares. “I got mine stuck in a tree almost immediately. My brother on the other hand, kept his up in the air but I was out of the kite for the rest of the day.”

While Miller can’t re-create the days of her childhood, she has perfected her grandmother’s potato soup.

“It is something that has definitely stuck with me where every holiday I’ll make her potato soup,” she said. “I’d make it and I’d immediately, before my family tried it, I’d take it down and be like ‘alright how does this taste like?’ That became its own thing where I’d make her potato soup.”