I love living in the United States, not so much for our foreign policies (it’s an embarrassment, frankly) but because of our wide range of diverse and fascinating cultures. Only a fraction of our population is Native American, which means at some point over the last 350 years, our families had to come from somewhere else… we’re from Greece and France. Generations ago, your heritage was something to be dismissed, but now, we tend to want to learn more about our ancestry, and where we came from. Not sure how? Here are 7 ways to celebrate your heritage!
1 Learn the Language
Unless your ancestors came from an English-speaking country, wouldn’t it be amazing to learn the language? I’d love to learn to speak Greek, or at least read it, so I could de-code the postcards and letters my great-grandfather exchanged with his family after he moved here as a teen…
2 Learn the Cuisine
As people, we tend to connect to a culture through its food. I know that’s how I get to know someone from a new culture — I ask what and how they eat. If you’re trying to learn more about your own heritage, look for family recipes or even just buy a good cook-book that focuses on your cuisine.
3 Read up
If your family comes from another land, chances are, that place still exists, and still has newspapers and magazines and literature you can read. Bring yourself a little closer to your heritage by reading from some of its great journalists and writers and poets, or by its music or fine art.
4 Get the Photos and Stories
Most families have piles of old photo albums, journals, letters and scrapbooks, in the possession of an older relative, like a grandma or auntie. Spend an afternoon with her, and ask her for the stories and ask to see the photos. She’ll be delighted to spend the time, and you’ll get to hear about the way things used to be…
5 Learn the Celebs!
Nearly every culture has a wealth of current or past singers, songwriters, poets, actresses, and other celebrities. Learn who they used to be, and who they are now, to give you an idea of what your culture celebrates, and who they admire.
6 How do You Celebrate?
Does your culture celebrate certain holidays or observe traditional celebrations in different ways? Find out, and start celebrating the holidays that belong to your ancestors. Or discover traditional ways of coming of age or dressing for celebrations…
7 Find It on the Map, and Visit!
Do you even really know WHERE your family comes from? Look at a map and pinpoint hometowns or villages, and if possible, try to find photos… or maybe, if you can, visit in person! How exciting would that be?
These are just a few ways of celebrating your heritage, but I’m sure there are more, like finding traditional clothing and learning traditional dances. How do you celebrate you heritage? Please let me know!
Top Photo Credit: Miss Minie
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