My husband is a Tamil Brahmin, who has grown up in the North and I am from Uttar Pradesh, so ours is literally a story of the Two states.
But when it comes to ours kids we have always tried to raise them in a neutral environment.
Make Your Own Traditions;
Since both our cultures are vastly different, we decided that we will celebrate festivals we like and if needed modify the customs. For eg. On Diwali we first wake up in the morning and put oil on the kids head, have a bath, pray like in the South Indian culture and then in the evening we again pray, decorate with Diyas and play cards(in South India, playing cards is seen as gambling but in the north, it’s a tradition). We as a family do not believe in bursting crackers for the environment. We also celebrate Holi, Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Ganesh Chaturthi, Christmas etc with equal enthusiasm.
Be Open To New Cultures
One day my kids asked me if they were South Indians or North Indians? It was a question we knew would be confusing because we have raised them more like global citizens than individual belonging to a certain region. However, we do realise that developing a strong foundation of belongingness to their cultural helps children create a well matured social network while transitioning into adulthood and connects them to their roots. But then culture is what you make of it and we have our own rules. When they grow up, they can decide what they want to follow.
Seek Grandparents Help
We also make sure that our children interact with their grandparents, ask questions about how they grew up, traditions they practised, games they played and the holidays they enjoyed in their ages. This will make them understand and give them more clarity on their roots.
Raise Global Citizens
We have friends from all over the world and we make sure our kids are friends with them too and we don’t only mean friends with their kids, but with our friends. We plan holidays and outings with our friends and our kids. Making memories with real people can be even more fun for the kids than exploring other cultures on their own. This has also helped them open to different cultures. Christmas is a festival we celebrate with the same amount of passion as Holi or Diwali.
Whether you have first-hand information about your family’s cultural heritage or must go back to former generations, you can still incorporate some popular traditions for your family today. Research your family’s cultural roots and discover what practices might fit with your family’s lifestyle.
Music Can Be The Connect
We haven’t yet explored this but making your kids listen to traditional music is a great way to explore different cultures and can be something that you listen to while you are doing other things, such as relaxing outdoors together or cooking.
Understanding your roots is important but raising kids who understand, respect, and appreciate the diverse array of cultures that exist is what the world needs right now. Today we see so many families like us and that’s why I shared this post. Hope this helps give you some clarity if you were in a similar dilemma 💕.
Wishing you a Happy Pongal, Makar Sankranti, Lohri or Bihu, whatever you are celebrating.