Hi, I am Shristi, a very proud mother of my 6-year-old daughter, Pari. We moved to Canada 3 years ago. The day we decided to move here, I knew raising her on our own, away from our close family, culture and country, would be challenging in many ways.
Passing down our culture - traditions, beliefs, practices, and faith - to Pari has been a large and very crucial part of my parenting. I love introducing her to everything about where we come from, our tradition, religion, and tell her the stories I grew up listening to.
To me, culture does not necessarily define a person, but it does influence one’s beliefs and values. Pari has her roots from Nepal, was born in India (Chennai), was exposed to festivals and people from different parts of India, and is now growing up in Canada. Our family is a mix of many different cultures and we have formed our own traditions in the way we pray, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, our beliefs!
I have been very intentional about educating and helping her learn and experience our rich culture. Some of the ways we do so are:
Celebrating festivals and wearing traditional clothes
Festivals are a very important part of any culture and a great way to immerse kids in understanding it. We celebrate all our festivals, small and big, in the best ways possible and ensure that she actively participates in it. My husband and I also wear traditional dresses for special occasions and by seeing us wear them, she also wears it with extreme excitement, joy and pride.
Books about culture and history are a great way to engage kids. Pari is a very visual learner and has immense love for reading. So, we incorporate books with traditional stories and fables in her routine.
Pari loves listening to stories and loves hearing about my childhood, our extended family, and learn more about the place where I grew up.
Cooking traditional food
Food is a very prominent part of any culture and holds the strongest connections to cultural traditions - from the style of cooking, to the spices and ingredients we use. Further, there are traditional recipes and special food that we cook for a specific celebration and festival. Hence, cooking with kids and introducing them to our unique tastes and traditional dishes is another great way to ensure that this part of our culture is passed down each generation.
Listening to music
Music helps us communicate and express ourselves, and is the expressive language of a culture. Pari and I love to listen to and sing a lot of bhajans (devotional songs), Nepali songs and folk songs together.
These are some of the ways our family keeps our culture alive in our home. What are some of the ways your family passes on its cultural roots?
Guest post written by: Shristi Amatya
Shristi is a Chartered Accountant from India and currently lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, mother-in-law, and daughter, Pari. She is originally from Nepal, and lived in Chennai, India for almost 13 years, before moving to Canada 3 years ago. Follow Shristi and Pari on Instagram @essentially_me_shristi to see all the fun this mother-daughter duo get up to!