So, you want to connect with your birth culture and heritage? Good for you! Learning about your roots can help you thrive and evolve as an individual. When you start thinking about cultural heritage, visions of books, photos, dress, and artifacts come to mind. This article reminds us that “cultural heritage is not only limited to material objects that we can see and touch. It also consists of immaterial elements: traditions, oral history, performing arts, social practices, traditional craftsmanship, representations, rituals, knowledge and skills transmitted from generation to generation within a community.” Here are some great ways to connect to your birth culture and heritage.
The simplest thing to do to start is to read as many books and articles about your birth culture on which you can get your hands…or eyes. Start your search by looking in libraries, bookstores, and Amazon. You can read paper copies of books or digital copies for Kindle. Current event articles can be found in magazines and newspapers at newsstands and grocery stores. The internet can provide a wide variety of information right at your fingertips! What you seek can be found in many locations if you choose to look. Once you start digging, you should find a plethora of information to start you on your journey.
A fairly easy way to connect with your culture is to socialize with other people who share your heritage. You may have to get over an initial shyness, but once people see you are genuinely interested in the culture you share, they usually will open up and welcome you like the family you are! Ask them questions regarding history, social practices, and oral traditions. Learn a skill or craft that is important to your heritage. If religion is a key component, plan to attend a traditional worship service. Get your hair done at a salon that specializes in hair from your ethnicity. Eat ethnic meals created from your culture. Celebrate important holidays that may be specific to your culture. Attend performing arts events and exhibits that feature your heritage. Many nationalities have clubs or socials that are exclusive to their race. Some cultures offer special classes where descendants of a specific religion or ethnicity can learn their religion, traditions, history, and language. This may be the best way for you to make the connection you seek.
Another way you can connect to your culture and heritage is to immerse yourself in it. This may be the most expensive and will take the most strategic planning, but if you can swing it, move into an area where others who share your heritage live, shop, eat, and socialize. If your heritage and culture are not adequately represented in your adopted culture, you could choose to leave your adopted country for a brief (or extended) stay in your birth country. While immersed in the everyday life of your heritage, you will begin to pick up on nuances of the culture, learn the language, and absorb the oral parts of traditions and tales.
There are a variety of ways that you can connect with your birth culture and heritage. There is no shame in learning about your birth culture; in fact, it can be very healthy and enlightening. While you seek to reconnect with your roots, remember that you are blessed to be a part of two cultures. Your adoptive culture also helped to make you who you are today. Choose the best of both worlds and then blend both cultures. Good luck to you as you embark on this journey! I sincerely hope you find all that you are looking for.
Virginia Spence and her husband Eric are parents to two awesome little boys who joined their family via domestic infant adoption. When she is not playing referee or engaged in tickle wars, Virginia can be found cleaning, reading, or drinking giant mugs of coffee. Virginia is passionate about advocating for life at all ages/stages and educating about adoption.