Disclosure :: I have received information and materials from McNeil Consumer Healthcare, Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc., the makers of TYLENOL®. The opinions stated are my own. This is a sponsored post.
Our family celebrates many traditions. Being a first generation American, I have incorporated the customs I grew up with, including those typical in New Orleans and others I learned while living in Chicago. Growing up, my family continued to practice their native country’s traditions including pig roasts for celebrations, listening to vibrant music and creating handmade clothes from passed down sewing techniques. Despite my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles having grown up in another country, they assimilated into the surrounding culture yet kept their native land’s customs alive for the sake of unity, memories and ties. Being born and raised in New Orleans, I was also exposed and surrounded with unique traditions, which some would argue is quite different from other cities in the United States. In the Crescent City, the generations before us have left a huge impact on the food, culture and dialect. From enjoying the first King Cake of the season on January 6th, to second lining at weddings, to our unique lingo, our family celebrates and has incorporated these traditions as well. While living in Chicago, I appreciated even more so these daily New Orleans customs that are foreign to our neighbors a thousand miles up the Mississippi River. But, it was in the Windy City that I learned additional traditions from many other cultures from around the world. Thanks to our experience, we now hang a green pickle ornament in our Christmas tree, know how desserts vary from one Latin American country to another, and the origin of an Easter basket.
So why is practicing traditions so important for families?
… because it evokes emotions and memories while binding a family together as a unit and establishing their identity.
Enjoying a home cooked meal around the dinner table, whether it be a bowl of gumbo or black beans and rice with roasted pork, is part of our daily routine. Taking the time to stop and spend time together around the dinner table is #HowWeFamily. Food has an extraordinary way of bringing family members closer together. For me, I recall the smell, noises and taste of my mother and grandmothers unique dishes. Every time I smell a particular spice, it reminds me of moments in my past of being surrounded by my extended family, including those who have passed. They are fond memories that I hope our own children will have of their childhood when they unite with their nuclear and extended family. As our family grows, I have tried to continue the same traditions the women before me provided for their own families. I cook my favorite childhood dishes for them, those I have learned from my husband’s family and others I have discovered from our experiences while traveling, living in another city and friends.
What are examples of family traditions?
… speaking another language, cultural rituals, oral tradition, celebrating holidays, etc.
I was never deterred from learning my family’s native language and continuing the traditions that were etched in our upbringing. There were times when it was challenging, including classmates mispronouncing my name to lack of accepting our ear piercing at a young age. However, these were all part of the customs that made our family unique and bond as a unit. It is for this reason that I want our children to be surrounded and practice both my husband and I’s family customs. We purposely expose our own children to my second language, recipes from both side of our families and holiday traditions, from crawfish boils on Easter Sunday to parading and celebrating this great nation’s independence every Fourth of July. This is #HowWeFamily.
The story behind family traditions
Traditions are a glimpse into a family’s history. And, whether we are immigrants, first or older generation Americans, each family has their unique customs they celebrate, especially on holidays such as the Fourth of July. I was aware as a child that this national holiday was just not any other day in our family. My mother would create a blue, red and white themed desert from one of the many recipes published in Better Home and Garden magazines. My sisters and I would wave small flags as we rode our tricycles and bikes and paraded down our long driveway. The American flag would fly proudly outside their home just like every other day. And now, as an adult, it is a day I reflect on the stories and experiences my family shared with me, through the years, of oppression, sacrifices and journey to a foreign country. They are also reminders of the realities of the world and have taught me to have conviction in my beliefs and remind me of the importance of family and living for each other. Those stories resonate with me as I strive to ensure that their sacrifices were not in vain and my goal is that our children seize and create opportunities for themselves per their sacrifices.
Now it’s your turn to show the pride you have in your own family. We would love for you to post or share a photo or video of what represents your family love and pride using #HowWeFamily on Twitter and Instagram. To read more stories celebrating families, visit the #HowWeFamily website.