Tamale Day is a Reyes family holiday.

It’s a day when the whole family sets aside the busyness of their lives to carry out a tradition that our family has held for generations.

I love this day because the tradition sets common ground. The tradition removes barriers and frustrations and disagreements between everyone in the family. They simply get together and enjoy each other. People who may not talk all year laugh like best friends over old memories.

My dad was the linchpin of family tradition. He lived for creating events that brought his family together. He loved to entertain and make people happy. He constantly worked to remove the friction between people so they would be able to enjoy each other’s company.

Dad planned out events like Tamale day months ahead of time. He wrote ridiculous parodies of poems to recite, created “Honorary Mexican” certificates for non-family guests, and had something to give to each person. The message was simple: You are one of us.

Tamale Day is symbolic of the man my dad was. It is a piece of the legacy he left behind. I hope he is filled with joy as he watches his family fulfill the tradition he loved so much.