It’s November! And Thanksgiving is coming soon and then Black Friday hits, and before you know it, Christmas is here and New Year’s will be around the corner… Pretty scary, right? But to me, they’re just holidays that I’ve grown up with and learned to enjoy and appreciate, but technically, I really don’t celebrate them… (Don’t gasp at me!)
For me, I have to say I was pretty lucky to grow up with Asian parents and then I had my American parents, which consisted of my older sister and older brother. They enjoyed making sure we learned about the American culture and celebrating American holidays since we do live in America. As I got older and went through grade school and middle school, I didn’t really understand why I was so different from the other kids. I wanted to be like everyone else, except I had different responsibilities and higher expectations for being my parent’s kid.
Growing up, I never really thought much of traditions. I just got excited that my parents didn’t have to work on holidays, and we got to eat good! They’d cook noodles and rice or put together a hot pot, which consists of savory broth that you cook your vegetables and meat in and eat each morsel as it’s done. All our holidays and family times centered around food (which probably explains why I need a personal trainer or nutritionist to control my relationship with food).
Sundays were our big family dinner days. My parents loved to cook and had taken their passion in food and made it a career by opening their own restaurant when I was nine. And I’ll admit, I took it for granted. Now that it’s been years since I’ve lived home, I hadn’t realized how much love and appreciation of food is ingrained in my culture and values.
Each year, we would go visit our ancestor’s graves and pay our respects. We’ll spend time together to watch Asian dramas, listen to Asian music and have debates on Asian history.
I thank my parents for giving me everything they have, for teaching me of our ways and what makes me special and different from everyone else. I’m culturally well-rounded and speak a different language, which may be more than what most people were given. What they’ve given me and taught me is great, in that I wish and I hope I’ll have the chance to pass down their traditions and values to the next generation. Traditions should never die as it makes a family more unique and special from others.
What are some of your family traditions and values?