Why the Most Peruvian Christmas Eve Dinner Is One Without Peruvian Food

Growing up in Miami, it was always exciting to talk to my friends at school about their Christmas plans. Each one was more different than the next. Being home to immigrants from all over Latin America and the Caribbean, Miami has just as many ways to celebrate Christmas as there are countries in the western hemisphere.

The most prevalent Christmas traditions are those of the city’s Cuban majority, who mark the birth of Jesus on Dec. 24th with a pig roast in a caja china—a Miami invention that cooks the animal in an insulated box, yielding crunchy crackling and juicy, tender meat. These Christmas Eve celebrations are often all-night bacchanals, and nobody’s really paying attention to what time the kids should go to bed. Other Latino families celebrate with similar zeal.