Noche Buena preparations under way

Published On: Dec 24 2012 07:04:12 AM EST
Updated On: Dec 24 2012 02:37:35 PM EST

HIALEAH, Fla. -

A few dozen people began lining up outside Mary's Farm in Hialeah around 3 a.m. Monday to buy a pig for Noche Buena.

Noche Buena finds its roots in Spain. Today, the family feast, which includes roasting a pig, is a popular Christmas tradition among Cubans and Puerto Ricans.

If you're Catholic, the feast concludes with Misa del Gallo, or Midnight Mass.

Pigs traditionally roast for four hours in what's called a caja china, a backyard oven. On average, one 70-pound pig runs around $110.

The thinner the pig, the pricier it is to eat. The reason? Smaller pigs are in higher demand because larger ones will not fit in the oven.

Common side dishes on Noche Buena are arroz con gandules, rice with pigeons peas, and yuca herbida, boiled cassava in a garlic sauce.

Most people agree on one thing: Noche Buena is one more reason for the family to spend time together each year.

"Every year we have to do this. Its a family thing," said Roberto Montoya.

"We make good mojitos to go along with it and make sure the sides are good and at the end of the day its the best way to feed 50 people," said Ian Rivera.

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