How do you describe your culture? Culture can be about the way we live, who we are, our religious roots or who we want to be. It’s also about traditions, whether they’re annual or everyday, formal or informal. This weekend we will be celebrating Diwali -our Hindu new year and festival of light. As part of my degree, our geography lecturer talked about youth cultures and street art. This was a completely different side to the definition of culture I grew up with. I loved growing my own youth culture. When I was much younger, culture was about…
- Getting together…with our extended family, mainly our Mauritian crew in Bristol or our relatives who would fly over. Maybe that’s why I love organising get-togethers and parties.
- Dressing up (lots) and especially when we went to the airport to greet or send off relatives. This was a big tradition as it was also a meeting point, a proper gathering. Looking smart and glam was essential, even for occasions when dressing up was not required. At the Lucky Things Meet Up I was talking to Antonia @tinkertailoronline and Denise @afrosandhighteas how I’d been brought up to dress up! Instead of FOMO, I now suffer from FOOD (fear of over-dressing).
- Chapathis with sugar. This was one of my favourite Mauritian treats. Loved sitting at the table, eating them whilst she made them fresh. I made some spontaneous chapathis tonight whilst Big Munch worked on hers with her mini rolling pin.
- Dancing. Whether it was in the lounge or in the conservatory (kids/teenagers only please, no grown-ups allowed!) our family loved music and in-house discos. Maybe this is why I love doing lounge discos with my girls. Childhood classics were Bob Marley’s Could you be loved and The Three Degrees’ When will I see you again. Not forgetting the Mauritian Sega classics. My favourites went down a treat at our wedding.
- Hanging out lots with your cousins. I was lucky I had lots of amazing girl cousins (we’re still in touch although we’re all grown up).
- Saying thank you. Mainly at Diwali, if we popped to the Hindu temple (not that often as we didn’t live near one) or at family prayer gatherings. It was a chance to say thank you for the good things.
- Hearing stories from my aunties and uncles. One of the best ways to research your own culture to to hear first hand from the older generations. To this day I’m always interested in hearing about what it was like for my parents growing up.
Now I’m much older, culture is all of the above plus…
- A whole world out there full of music…I love listening to new music. My favourite album at the moment is by Solange. I love the interlude recordings where her parents talk about celebrating your culture – the inspiration for this blog post.
- Fashion…yes clothes! Our style defines who we are, even if we work a different style each day.
- Trainers…As a teenager and in my twenties, trainers were a big part of my youth culture.
- Finessing hand-me down recipes….Cooking the meals my Mum used to make. Trying to replicate my Aunty’s home-cooked treats. Did you see my recipe for salmon curry with the legendary Tilda rice the other day?
- Learning more as I teaching my girls about our culture. You can never know everything about everything. It’s fun learning different things to what I was taught about my culture growing up. As a parent I want my children to feel really proud of their various cultures.
- Mixing up your own cultural cocktails. I’m proud that our girls are half-Mauritian half-Brummy English. They will be learning about the world in a way that I didn’t experience at school. Diversity is to be celebrated instead of to be hidden away. I borrow bits from the Jamaican and Chinese parts of our family. Big Munch is excited that the two of us are doing a talk on Diwali to her class at pre-school. Being different can even be cool (as I realised when I moved to London for university).
- Being you. Culture is passed down to you but as we grow up we create it ourselves. We choose to focus on particular traditions or we extend it to embrace lots of different things.
So celebrate your culture, wherever you’re from, whatever traditions you grew up with.
What do you love about your culture? What does your culture mean to you? What traditions do you love from your childhood? What traditions do you hope to pass down to others? What things remind you of your teenage or youth cultures?
Leave a comment below and share the culture love…
Thanks for reading. Enjoy lots of lucky things. x Sunita