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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Racial Remembrance During Holiday Traditions

The time before the holiday is so hectic trying to get everything done so things can be perfect for family and friends. As I listen to friends share how they added elements from their cultural to make their holiday special...I wondered about my mixed race and multi cultured family.

During the 2008 holiday season my son was very young. I didn't celebrate Thanksgiving and beyond the obligatory photos with Santa, I really didn't do anything for Xmas either. In 2009 I started thinking how to add aspects from my son's three cultures so we can celebrate more as a family.

Last year, I still didn't follow the American custom for Thanksgiving. Instead I wanted to start a tradition of awareness about the Native American Indian and Alaska Native during this time. After some research, I found out about the exhibition IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas . I decided to take my son to The National Museum of the American Indian here in NYC to see their current exhibit. While he's young and cant fully understand, it's about starting our own tradition for the holidays. Besides he had fun =)

While changing traditions for Thanksgiving was simple enough, how to tackle Xmas since the whole family wants to be involved and celebrate with Daniel. To their credit my family knows that I try to do my own cultural things with my son. They may not fully understand why, but they'll indulge me as long as they can spend time with Daniel. LOL

For Xmas 2009, we didn't do a lot of the American Xmas things. We had no tree, no xmas decorations, no exchange of presents. But we did have the family gathering, eating, drinking and most important oral story telling. My family shared stories of life back in Guyana, the funny things family members did as children and finally their memories of my son life. I was really touched as each person shared their memory of my son from birth till now.

My son has forever changed the racial makeup of our family tree. My sons children will have African Caribbean, African American and Korean ancestors to remember. Yes, my son's biracial link to his fathers culture makes him unique within my somewhat monoracial family, but his story will always be added to the family tradition of remembrance.