Bringing Traditions from Other Cultures into your Family Celebrations

BlogHer Original Post


My Son's Adoption Announcement

Almost ten years ago, as my husband and I were preparing to travel to Cambodia to bring home our adopted son, Harry, I created an adoption announcement that was combination of different cultural icons.  I scanned a 1930's birth announcement depicting a stork carrying a baby, inserted my son's photo in the bundle, and substituted western houses for Cambodia's Angkor Watt.   This sort of "mash up" is how we've celebrated our own traditions, while integrating customs and ideas from Cambodian culture.

Since my children were very young, we've celebrated holidays, birthdays, and traditions in ways that incorporate and honor different traditions - from Cambodia to America, from Budhist to Jewish and Christian.   During the holidays, we you'll not only find a Christmas tree in our house, but also a Menorah.  Both have a Cambodian twist.  The ornaments on our tree, that we've created together with our children include silhouettes of Angkor Watt,  Monkey Masks, animals from the Chinese Zodiac side by side with Santa Claus and gingerbread men.   I made a Menorah that is shaped like an elephant, a special animal in Cambodian culture.   And, we don't just celebrate January 1st as New Year's - there's the Jewish New Year in September or October,  Chinese New Year (celebrated by many in Cambodia) in January and February, and Cambodian New Year's, a holiday of renewal marked in mid-April.

It's take a bit of research and it's one reason why I started to my Cambodia For Kids blog and Web site, but it's helped us create a rich tradition of melding different traditions from different cultures all year round.

If your family is a fusion of different cultures and different traditions, how do you honor these during the holidays?

Beth Kanter, BlogHer CE for Nonprofits and Social Change, writes Beth's Blog.

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