How It All Adds Up ~ Celebrations

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Understanding What Makes Up Our Identities

Photo Credit: JourneyMexico

When living in the United States, it’s hard not to notice the massive misconceptions that people have about foreign cultural holidays. To be clear, I don’t mean religious holidays like Ramadan, or Hanukkah, but rather holidays that have to do with community and experience.

For example, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day, nor is it even a national holiday; and Dia de los Muertos is not the Mexican version of Halloween, it’s also in November. A lot of these misconceptions start at a young age, most foreign holidays are not taught or recognized in the public school system. It becomes easy, then, to gather an understanding of said holidays by other misinformed people. An ugly cycle to be sure.

But given the internet and social media, these cultures are more easily celebrated and there are alternative platforms to kindly educate those who know little about them. Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Battle of Puebla, Dia de los Muertos celebrates the afterlife and pays tribute to the memory of their loved ones. There are many other holidays that are left to be explored and I wholly encourage everyone living in the U.S. to research! If you’re not sure what a holiday is about, look it up. If you have a new friend with a culture different from yours, ask them questions – respectful questions, mind you – and learn about their holidays.

Making an effort with those of different backgrounds normalizes the diversity of our country and humanizes social groups who are often victims of xenophobia. It brings a unique sense of unity. I’m not just talking to the white readers, I also implore every P.O.C. to work just as hard to recognize other cultures. It can only strengthen a bond you have with a person and it really is a humbling experience. Holidays are happy times and everyone deserves to have their culture in the spotlight.


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