No doubt your household is like so many others here in the United States; a mixed bag when it comes to cultures and traditions. America has always been a melting pot, and always will be, people have been coming to this country for centuries now in search of a better life, and have assimilated into the regular American society, but, with them they’ve brought their own sets of traditions that they’ve shared with the rest of us along the way. Mixing traditions, this is a wonderful thing!
Embracing one another for our cultural differences, and learning from them is important. It’s a way in which we can all begin to understand, in greater depth, who we are, and how and why we think the way we do. And what better way to do this than at the holidays? If your family is multicultural, how do you successfully go about mixing traditions in your home and retain a sense of identity? Here are some important first steps to take in your quest for a harmonious blending of cultures, where nobody feels left out.
If you and your partner are looking for the best way to mix traditions this season, and for many happy seasons to come, sit down with one another and make a list of the traditions you practiced and honored in your own home as a child when you were growing up, and see what you remember the best. You may be surprised at what you find. Review each other’s lists, and, as a starting point, talk about which traditions are the most important and memorable for each of you.
Now that you’ve narrowed it down to the things you both can’t live without, it’s time to see how you can best incorporate them all into a happy and healthy melting pot of your own. Mixing traditions can be fun, there’s no reason why you can’t honor Christ, and celebrate Chanukah by lighting a menorah, all in the same household, ring in the New Year on December 31st according to the Gregorian calendar, and celebrate the Chinese New Year according to their calendar. This is a wonderful way to introduce your children to their roots by exploring your shared heritages.
It may be helpful to sit down and go over a calendar to determine which days you’ll spend observing what, and with whose family you’ll be doing it with. Make it more fun by using a chocolate Advent calender, choose a date, eat a chocolate! All in all, working together to make everybody feel at home is what pitching in and being family is all about…Feliz Hanukkah or whatever your mixing of traditions is!