How to Speak Like a Mexican: Bocado

As I watched my suegro eat some relleno negro for lunch one day, I pointed out that he was using his tortilla as a utensil. He would tear off a piece of tortilla, fold it into a U-shape, then push the relleno negro onto the tortilla with a spoon to create the perfect bite.

Using tortilla bits as utensils is popular throughout Mexico, but my suegro taught me that the Yucatan has a special word for this tradition: un bocado, literally meaning “a bite”, is the process of using your tortilla in place of a fork or spoon.

I’m not sure if the phrase is used the same way in other parts of Mexico, but I think it’s a great way to cut down on dishes.

Relleno negro before "el bocado"

Relleno negro with "el bocado"

Año Viejo: New Year’s Tradition in Yucatan

For New Years, we once again went to the fishing village of Chabihau in the state of Yucatan to visit Jorge’s family. This year there was even a wedding! Jorge’s cousin Yeni (pronounced like “Jenny”) got married to her long-time beau, Armando.

We also did some crocodile watching out on Chabihau's salt lagoon

I’d heard before about a special tradition in the Yucatan known as “Año Viejo” (“Old Year”), but this year was the first time I got to see it. On our ride from Cancun to Chabihau, we passed through several villages that had dummies set out by the front gate of the homes. These dummies are known as “Años Viejos“, and they’re filled with rockets and fireworks.

Read that again… rockets and fireworks.

On December 31, the Año Viejo dummies are set out by the front door, and at midnight they’re ignited in the street to represent the end of the “Old Year”. Make sure to keep your distance! It can get pretty loud.

An "Año Viejo" in the town of Cansahcab, Yucatan

From what I could gather from Jorge’s family, it seems Año Viejo is a popular tradition throughout the Yucatan Peninsula, as well as in the state of Veracruz.

Since I was at the wedding at midnight, I didn’t get to see the Año Viejo lit up this year, even though we did have some regular fireworks and sparklers. Oh well, there’s always next year!

What did you do for New Year’s?