• October Blog Post

Thanksgiving, an All American Holiday?

Thanksgiving originated as an all-American tradition, but over time, different cultures residing in the United States have incorporated their own unique traditions into the holiday.

The Thanksgiving Traditions that are Shared Among Other Cultures:

The once, all American holiday is typically celebrated with a central theme in mind– autumn. Like Americans, many different cultures living in the United States decorate their homes to reflect the fall. Inspired by autumn color palettes, popular decorations include autumn wreaths, pumpkins, candles, and flowers that showcase the new season. 

Latino American Thanksgiving Traditions

As mentioned, there are some similarities that exist between a Latino American Thanksgiving and an All American Thanksgiving. But, Latinos tend to celebrate the holiday by adding their own flavorful and spicy dishes into the holiday.

When we think of the typical Thanksgiving, we usually imagine a dinner consisting of turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy. However, in Latino American households, the food list goes on and on!

While many Latino Americans choose to have the traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner, many others chose to opt for tamales, mole, pupusas, or marinated roast pork featuring bold flavors and authentic ingredients. Champurrado, ponche caliente, and delicious flan tend to be a part of the festivities as well.


Flan Source: Px

Besides differing in their menu selections, most Latino Americans feature loud and lively music to celebrate the holiday. Because Latinos are strongly family oriented, their Thanksgivings may also involve abuelito telling stories about his childhood and the children playing together in the sala.  

Indigenous “Thanks Taking” Traditions

In San Jose, CA, Calpulli Tonalehqueh, Akoma Arts, New Fire/Yancuic Xihuitl, and others join in solidarity with the International Indian Treaty Council, to commemorate all indigenous cultures and traditions in a sunrise gathering. They unite Native, Mexica and African drums to honor the heartbeat of Mother Earth.

This Sunrise Gathering originated as Un-Thanksgiving Day to honor the indigenous peoples of the Americas and to promote their rights. It coincides with a similar protest, the National Day of Mourning, held in Massachusetts.

Annual SJ Thanks Taking Sunrise Ceremony Source: Caluplli Tonalehqueh

The event is designed to commemorate the survival of Native American peoples following the settlement of Europeans in the Western Hemisphere, which led to enormous losses among Indians from disease, warfare, and social disruption. Organizers want it to serve as a contrast to the traditional Thanksgiving story in which the Pilgrims peacefully shared a meal with Native Americans.

Vietnamese American Thanksgiving Traditions

After immigrating to the United States, many Vietnamese have become fond of Thanksgiving festivities as well. Charles Lam, a Vietnamese American from Asian Weekly mentions, “Because my parents were born and raised in Vietnam, you could say that my “regular” Thanksgiving has always been a little … skewed.”

He mentions that his family has always made sure to make Thanksgiving special. Even when his dad had to work at night, he and his family would have a “Thanksgiving lunch” in lieu of the traditional Thanksgiving Dinner.

He remembers that when his family first celebrated the holiday, their dinner consisted of roasted duck, pork, Vietnamese baguettes, and Vietnamese spread.

Vietnamese Baguettes Source: Hungry Forever

Lam admits that even though his family has become more adapted to American traditions, as their dinner now features turkey and mashed potatoes, it is still a Vietnamese dinner. He mentions, “We still eat baguette over rolls, there’s still no sprig of rosemary anywhere in my house, and that beef roast is marinated with soy sauce, fish sauce, and lemongrass. That stuffing? It’s made up of glass noodles, boiled quail eggs, and baby corn. It’s still a Vietnamese Thanksgiving meal.”


Portuguese American Thanksgiving Traditions

Portuguese Thanksgiving Stuffing Source: Portuguese Diner

Many Portuguese Americans have also chosen to embrace the once, All American tradition of Thanksgiving by bringing their own Thanksgiving traditions into the mix. Like Americans, they may feast on a delicious dinner featuring turkey. However, many Portuguese Americans add their own special flair to it by incorporating their Portuguese stuffing into it. Check out this awesome Portuguese Thanksgiving stuffing recipe here.

While other cultures would typically not serve seafood during their Thanksgiving, according to the Sun Sentinel, some Portuguese families do. Rodeiro, a Portuguese American who was interviewed by the Sun mentions, “It’s hard to bring our own culture into something we don’t have. So the only thing we can do is bring the food”.

While Portuguese Americans are at the table, they alternate between English and Portuguese as they feast. Thus, incorporating their culture into the holiday.

Kooltura’s Approach to Multicultural Marketing

At Kooltura Marketing, our goal is to help build community connection and cultural insight that is essential to multicultural marketing. As a strategy, we incorporate research studies, data, and our own cultural experiences while working closely in culturally rich communities.

If your organization or business is interested in reaching a specific ethnicity, culture, and/or subculture in San Jose, CA and the larger Bay Area, do not hesitate to contact us today. We offer marketing consulting, social media management and branding.

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Celebrate Mayfair | Mayferia
School of Arts and Culture @MHP
Branding, Marketing, Social Media, Design

We were identified to lead and develop an integrated strategic marketing roadmap, and brand concept for the Celebrate Mayfair project including the Mayferia Series.

Project Overview: Celebrate Mayfair is a year long project that aims to celebrate the talent, beauty, and history of the Mayfair community. We believe that through creating a platform for shared arts and cultural experiences we can connect residents and reduce blight in the Mayfair neighborhood.

Mayferia Events: The School of Arts and Culture will host a series of celebration’s to spotlight the talent of Mayfair residents. Mayferia events will be showcases for local talent and a place for residents to learn about community resources. This first Mayferia will took place on Friday, December 9th. Followed by a second celebration scheduled for Sunday, March 19.

Kooltura specializes in multicultural marketing, helping clients reach audiences of a specific ethnicity, culture, and subculture through brand and strategy. Contact Us if you are interested in learning about our work.

Inaugural J-Town Film Fest – Recalling the Opening Night

It’s hard to believe that we are already in the month of June in 2015. Time seems to fly by and if we blink too long, we might miss some great events in San Jose. Hopefully you didn’t miss the inaugural San Jose J-Town Film Fest. The opening night was Friday, May 29th at 7PM at the  Jacinto “Tony” Siquig Northside Community Center.

We’re lovers of film festivals here at Kooltura. It wasn’t too long ago that we were in and out of theaters catching Cinequest films. So, when we heard Japantown was holding it’s inaugural film festival as part of the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and their anniversary celebration of 125 years as Japantown, we knew we had to be there.

When we arrived for the opening night film at JTS Northside Community Center, we heard that the last “at-the-door” ticket was sold. It was great to hear. The energy was high with anticipation and everywhere we turned there was a friendly volunteer face guiding us.

The scheduled film was “Delano Manongs: Forgotten Heroes of the United Farm Workers Movement” (2014) by filmmaker Marissa Aroy. If we could give a film a higher rating than two thumbs or more stars than five, then we would. Why? Well, besides the film being well made, it holds an important significance because of its relevance to San Jose, its people, and its surrounding communities.

San Jose is diverse, that’s no secret. And, chances are we are familiar with the story of Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. Many of us actually have relatives or know older generations who were directly involved with the American farm labor movement in one way or another. The film “Delano Manongs” tells the often overlooked story of Larry Itliong and the Filipino farm workers whose actions played a key role in the Delano Grape Strike of 1965 and ultimately brought about the creation of the United Farm Workers Union (UFW). The film shines a spotlight on the Filipino farm workers and you’ll be sure to fall in love with Mr. Larry Itliong and his cigars.


Q&A/Discussion after the screening of Delano Manongs with Marissa Aroy, Luis Valdez, and Johnny Itliong.

As if the film wasn’t enough, the opening night also included a Q&A panel which included filmaker Marissa Aroy, noted playwright Luis Valdez, and Larry Itliong’s son Johnny Itliong. Being in that room with people who are or were connected to such a huge part of history felt like witnessing history itself. After the once in a lifetime panel discussion, we were blessed with live performances by (folklorico group name), (Q’s drumming group name), and music by Sonido Clash.

The film festival continued on Saturday and Sunday with great films like; Hibakusha” (2012), “Kumu Hina”(2014), “Skin Stories: The Art and Culture of Polynesian Tattoo” (2003)East Side Sushi” (2014)The People I’ve Slept With” (2009)Issei: The First Generation” (1984).

So, what did we take away from this inaugural J-Town Film Fest? We fell in love with it! We want this back every year. Ultimately it’s up to us to support and allow great events like this to flourish and succeed. If you were there, you know exactly what we’re talking about when we say this event is the definition of community. If you weren’t there, you won’t want to miss the next one.

If you loved this event and wish more people would know about it or wish you would’ve heard about it sooner, then make sure to head over to #iPledgeSJ to find out how you can take the pledge and support San Jose and the Arts.

Photo Credit: Miguel Martinez | Event: J-Town Film Fest

#iPledgeSJ: May Events

Welcome back to #iPledgeSJ! If you missed the original post about what #iPledgeSJ is all about then I recommend clicking here first. We have selected an exciting line-up of events that we think represent and pay tribute to San Jose’s diversity.

The #iPledgeSJ events for May are…


May #iPledgeSJ Events

5/1 May Day 2015-International Workers Day-Dia Internacional de Trabajadores
Workers and migrants rising for dignity against state violence, and standing for international solidarity

5/1 – May 1st South FIRST FRIDAYS Art Walk
A free, self-guided nighttime tour through galleries, museums, and independent creative businesses featuring eclectic art exhibitions and special performances.

5/1 – Sonido Clash: Día De La Chamba
Digital cumbia, low rider oldies, funk, y mas. Exploring the Traditional, Modern, and Emerging Latin Sound diaspora.

5/1 – 6/13 – SPECTRUM Group Glass Exhibition
SPECTRUM an exploration of the never ending possibilities of an amazing material.

5/2 – Free Comic Book Day APE-POP at Art Boutiki
APE-POP will be a little mini-convention featuring artists who will be participating in this October’s Alternative Press Expo in San Jose.

5/2 – VSA/SJSU Presents – “Giấc Mơ Của Cha ông” (Dreams of Our Fathers)
The SJSU VSA Annual Culture Show explore the themes of love, family, war consequences, family struggles, self-identity, pursuing happiness, immigrant struggles as well as non-conventional career choices.

5/3 – Silicon Valley Bikes! Festival & Bike Show
Come celebrate the Santa Clara Valley’s rich bicycling history and culture with our racing, road, recreational, mountain, custom, cruiser, fixie, vintage and lowrider bicycling communities and kick off National Bike Month!

5/7 – 2015 HELLA famous Hip Hop Prom
Did you go to prom? Did you miss your prom? 2nd Annual Hip Hop Prom features emcees, poets, and vocalists at Iguanas Burritozilla – Free, all ages.

5/8 – Cukui Presents: “Grit” by Jordan Pierre Gabriel
Artwork by Jordan Pierre Gabriel

5/11 – MOTOWN ON MONDAYS SJ: 1 Year Anniversary
Celebrate the 1 Year Anniversary and new home of Motown on Mondays at The Continental Featuring special guests + more spinning originals, remixes, & close relatives of your favorite Motown songs.

5/13 – SJCC “SPARKS” Art Reception & Exhibition
“SPARKS” highlights the important contributions of more than 24 California higher education art programs and California Glass Organizations, including SJSU, CSU Chico, CSU San Bernardino, Palomar College, ACGA, Bay Area Glass Institute, Public Glass, Glass Alliance of Northern California, The Crucible, and historical programs who have contributed to the art glass movement from the 1960s to the present.

5/13 – SoFA Design Crawl
FREE tour of the top architecture and design companies in the SoFA District, complete with free appetizers and happy hour priced drinks.

5/17 – Blues Sunday w/ The Champagne City Band feat. Carolyn Jones and Keith Hames
Champagne City Band in conjunction with the African American Journey Museum sponsor Old School RnB Sunday!

5/19 – Sangam Spotlight: Oceanic Traditions
A free lecture demonstration on Hula and Ori Tahiti by Māhealani Uchiyama and students of the Mahea Uchiyama Center for International Dance.

5/21 – 5/25 – FanimeCon 2015
By fans, for fans – an anime convention featuring swap meets, art, music, dance and more for the love of cosplay!

5/23 – Stories Of Regeneration Art show/Celebration
Come out and celebrate the lives of youth from East Side San Jose, who will be showcasing their life stories accompanied by artists from the community.

5/23 – 5/24 – 4th Annual SJ Taco Festival of Innovation
Just what it sounds like. A Festival of Tacos!

5/29 – 5/31 – San Jose Japantown Film Festival (J-Town FilmFest)
A committee of community organizations announces plans for the first San Jose J-TOWN FILMFEST featuring a selection of Asian American and Pacific Islander films in Japantown.



The Changing Same Thursdays

Motown on MondaysMondays

Nomikai DJ Nights – Various Days
Assortment of nights featuring great DJ’s.

Future Arts Now Classes – M/W/TH

Pop Up Market – Whole Foods, The Alameda – 1st Saturdays

South First Fridays – 1st Friday of the month in the SOFA district

AYA Open Mic – Fridays


Know of an event that should be on the list? We are open to suggestions. Send us an email to info@Kooltura.com with the subject line “iPledgeSJ”, a description of the event, any social media accounts associated with the event, and a website link if possible.

Join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where we will be sharing photos of those taking the pledge.


Photo Credit: Jonathan Garcia | Event: FAME SS2014


#iPledgeSJ: April Events

Welcome back to #iPledgeSJ! If you missed the original post about what #iPledgeSJ is all about then I recommend clicking here first. We have selected an exciting line-up of events that we think represent and pay tribute to San Jose’s diversity.

The #iPledgeSJ events for April are…


April #iPledgeSJ Events

4/2 – Creative Minds: Pushpamala N.
Pushpamala N. challenges traditional representations of Indian women in photography and cinema.

4/3 – South First Fridays Art Walk
A self-guided nighttime tour through galleries, museums, and independent creative businesses featuring eclectic art exhibitions and special performances.

4/6 – SJ Made Pop-up Market
SJ Made pop-up Market hosted by the new Whole Foods Market.

4/6 – Your Voice, Your Poem
Free poetry writing workshops with Arlene Biala and Lorenz Dumuk

4/10 – Curious Quail, Rin Tin Tiger, Cola, Panic is Perfect, Steely Nash, and Real Flower @ SLG Art Boutiki
“Show!” A quality indie rock concert at SLG Art Boutiki

4/11 – Noche Folklorica Presented by Grupo Folklorico Luna y Sol de SJSU
Annual folklorico show put on by San Jose State’s folklorico group.

4/11-4/12 – Fear FestEvil San Jose
Fear FestEvil curator, host, and lifelong horror enthusiast Kirk Von Hammett knows not the meaning of mediocrity. You need to visit this event page to grasp the scope of this event.

4/17 – Bunny Ride – San Jose Bike Party
Bunnies and bikes. If you’ve never been to a San Jose Bike Party, this is a good one!

4/18 – Inaugural Selena Tributesonido clash
Techno cumbia, Texmex, Freestyle, y mas. San Jose’s Selena Quintanilla tribute.

4/18-4/19 – Big WOW! Comic Fest 2015
The Original Artist Friendly Convention! – Comics, toys, scifi, horror, fantasy, anime, gaming, cosplay and everything pop culture!

4/18, 4/19, 4/24 – Los Monologos de la Vagina en MACLA Theater
MACLA Theater – Shows on Sat. 4/18 @ 7:30pm, Sun. 4/19 @ 3:00pm, and again on Fri. 4/24 @ 7:30pm.

4/24 – MALI 2nd Annual Art/Life Forum
Providing multicultural arts leaders the information and inspiration to improve their personal practice and strengthen our local arts, culture, and entertainment ecosystem.

4/25 – Wonders & Traditions of Peru
Presented by Asociación Cultural Kanchis. Join us for dances from all regions of Peru! Enjoy Peruvian food, drinks, and other peruvian products.

4/25 – The CineBrew Mart, 2015
Brought to you by Camera Cinemas, Hermitage Brewing and SJMADE, The Cinebrew Mart showcases local beer and artisan treats at the movies in downtown San Jose.

4/25 – Family Art Day
Hands-on art activities, yummy food, puppet performances, and live entertainment at MACLA

4/26 – Dancin’ Downtown Festival
Santana Row and sjDANCEco brings local as well as regional dance artists together to celebrate National Dance Week in a FREE outdoor festival featuring the diversity and the wealth of our dance community.



The Changing Same – Thursdays
A weekly excursion keeping time with the future of Soul, RnB, and Jazz every Thursday. With guest DJ’s, live performances and dancing.

Nomikai DJ Nights – Various Days
Assortment of nights featuring great DJ’s.

FutureArtsNow! Classes – M/W/TH
Open funk, house, and break dance sessions at the Edenvale Community Center.

Pop Up Market – 1st Saturdays
Hosted by Whole Foods, The Alameda.


Know of an event that should be on the list? We are open to suggestions. Send us an email to info@Kooltura.com with the subject line “iPledgeSJ”, a description of the event, any social media accounts associated with the event, and a website link if possible.

Join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where we will be sharing photos of those taking the pledge.


Photo Credit: Jonathan Garcia | Event: FAME SS2014