South Florida families come together to celebrate Nochebuena – respecting safety measures – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

DAVIE, FLA. (WSVN) – A tasty tradition was being prepared in South Florida as families gathered to celebrate Nochebuena, but this year’s celebrations looked a little different for many as loved ones took safety precautions additional.

The Exposito family opened their Davie home to 7News on Friday, and their preparations began early.

The cameras showed lechon crackling in a hearth. The aroma of roast pork and ripe plantains are just two of the nostalgic smells that are an integral part of Latin American family Christmas celebrations.

Lechon asado is a December 24 staple in many Cuban homes. Like other South Florida families, the Expositos use a caja china to make the perfect pork roast.

Agustin Exposito Jr. said his family loved this particular old-fashioned dish.

“You do it with coal, you do it with just cinder blocks, you just rely on the elements, so just fire and wind,” he said, “making sure you have the right amount of fire, the right amount of heat.

The process actually began on Wednesday, when Agustin and his brothers began preparing and seasoning the pork.

“Today, earlier in the morning, we installed the pit,” he said.

They put down a lot of charcoal to get that perfect fire.

It’s when the caja china Between.

“Meanwhile, we put the pig on the table, and wrap it in foil, placing it on the wire rack,” Agustin said.

They then placed the lechon directly into the pit.

“We plug in the thermometers and make sure the pig doesn’t burn,” Agustin said.

It’s more than just a meal. It is a family tradition passed down from generation to generation.

“My grandfather, who started this tradition here in South Florida after he arrived from Cuba, these are the exact same bricks he used back home,” Agustin said.

Her grandfather passed away in 2013, but the family is working to carry on the tradition.

“Me and my brother my father, we continue like this every year,” Agustin said.

His father, Agustin Exposito, said Nochebuena had a special meaning.

“Nochebuena is our day when we bring the family together. We see the children, we see the grandchildren,” he said.

It’s a special family reunion every year, but in a pandemic year, it offers Expositos time to pause and reflect.

“It makes you appreciate it, because it really gives me time to adjust, not only to hang out by the pit, but also to really think about everything that happened and be grateful for the things. That we have.” said Augustin Jr.

“I have my sons, I have my daughters, I have their wives, I have my best friends here, and that’s what’s important to us,” his father said. “I mean, it’s the people who keep it real, the people who call you daily.”

Due to the pandemic, the Expositos held a smaller Nochebuena rally.

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Susan W. Lloyd