GF Mom Certified Celebrates Culture By: Anita Myers
“Come on, Anita, come let’s enjoy Christmas together!”
That’s my mom. Her inner joy for celebrating always radiated through her eyes and smile. As a practicing Hindu, her cultural and religious celebrations were throughout the year and, honestly, it seemed like a weekly thing. Hinduism is the most ancient religion, vastly cultural, and with so many gods in Hindu mythology. Any time there’s a documented victory in the battle of good and evil, it became a practice to remember them through celebrating. On top of that, she celebrated every good thing that happened to almost anyone and everyone, because why not.
Indian celebrations in general involve flowers, oil lamps, fragrance in the air and what many outside of the United States call, “sweets.” Most are fried or steamed and made with sugar, milk or condensed milk and fruits. When it came to traditions in the U.S., she’d squeeze one of these types of sweets in along with what the locals would typically eat, and enjoy the time she had with them (the people and the sweets). As I look back and recall what our traditions were like in our home, I don’t believe they were highlighted on certain days like most cultures and religions tend to do. Her traditions were really about celebrating what you can, when you can.
When she took notice of the American Christmas tree, she gasped and said, “Oh! Let’s get it and put it up!” My more traditional father would say, “Why?? We’re not Christian?? Or American??” to which she’d reply, “Who cares?! It’s fun! Let’s just do it anyway! Let’s be American and put it up!” And as each year went by, if there was a Polish friend who sent her a dessert, a Mexican friend who gave her an ornament, a Greek friend who brought powdered sugar cookies, a Jewish friend who made a noodle kugel, or my father’s co-workers who sent us bottles of Chivas Regal, Crown Royal and Jim Beam, she put everything under the tree. In our Indian tradition, we first give our gifts to God to bless them before we can enjoy anything. Our gifts, according to my mom, were blessings. Representations of “our brothers and sisters who gave something good in our lives.”
While the tree didn’t exactly represent God, it represented a gathering place for kind gestures that deserved to be noticed. To her, a tree in real life is a home for animals, a place to shelter people from the rain, the resource to create shelter from its wood, and some provide food for us to enjoy. Trees are a magnificent symbol of life. A great place to celebrate our life’s blessings.
My mom and dad have since passed, but I’ve taken her tradition of embracing the Christmas tree as the symbol of the beautiful togetherness we experience in life. My family and I have a “365 Christmas tree,” where we carry on the tradition of celebrating life and our blessings daily.
“Hearts Do Matter” by Anita Myers, Illustrations by Yury Borgen
Author Anita Myers presents you an illustrated book for all ages, designed to share the celebration of life spent with her mother, and the love that exists after life. This book is designed to lift your heart to appreciate the time spent with someone you loved. Whether you’ve been grieving for years or just this year, consider this simple heart-lifting book of a true story for your collection. Make it a thoughtful gift this holiday season for someone you know.
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GF Mom Certified sponsored in part by Amazon.