Family Traditions


by Linda Castillo

The other day my husband and I took our daughter to the “la pulga” for the first time.  We were so excited to be in the hustle and bustle of the market activity, smelling the fresh flowers, eating the yummy food, and browsing the old and new stuff alike.  For many outsiders, we looked like a typical family at the flea market but for us it was the start of a family tradition. 

Going to “la pulga” a tradition, really? Tradition is defined as meaningful customs passed down through a culture or family. While many of us think of common examples of traditions such as holidays or religious rites, but traditions can be the simple activity as a trip to the local flea market. In this particular instance, the trip to the flea market with our daughter was not only a start of a tradition but it held special meaning for my husband. You see my husband had a close relationship with his father and he fondly remembers all the times that they went to flea market together as a family when he was a little boy. In fact, I can honestly say that my husband becomes so happy when we go to the flea market. For this reason, bringing our daughter there for the first time conjured up so many emotions for both of us because while father-in-law is no longer with us, this tradition that my husband shared with his father continues to live on. And while my daughter will never have the opportunity to meet her abuelito, he will be a part of her life with this tradition.

During my childhood, my father created a summer Saturday tradition for my sister and I without even realizing it. We would go to the Santa Clara public pool all day, have dinner at House of Pizza, and end the day with a $1 movie at the Almaden Twin Theatres. This was a simple and economical family tradition that I remember. I have many memories of times with my grandmother Castillo, such as making tortillas and tamales, I remember she had a little roller just my size. As a new mother, I am thinking about the traditions that I will continue to pass down from my childhood and I am looking to create new traditions for my family. With these traditions, I want to create happy memories for my family that my little one will cherish when she is older.  And hopefully, she will look back lovingly on the time spent together as a family and continue the traditions with her family. My traditions may be as simple as Friday game and pizza night to a yearly event like going to the Nutcracker and Christmas in the Park every December. 

It is with traditions, these shared experiences that create lifelong memories and help shape who we are not only as individuals but as a family. I see traditions as a way for a family to stay connected. I am going to be one of those mothers who is a stickler ensuring that my children participate in the family traditions. While I know that at times the kids may complain that they want to be doing something else, I know in the end they will be thankful for the time spent together as a family. 

What are some traditions that you want to share with your family? What are some family traditions that you remember from your childhood?

Linda Castillo is the Founder and Executive Editor of She writes on topics that empower and inspire Latinas including art, motherhood, green living, culture, travel, and issues transforming the Latino community. Linda has earned a B.S. in Business and a M.S. in Mass Communications from San Jose State University.