Many if not all love the holidays, or any cultural celebrations. It’s that time of the year when we get to see our family, eat lots of yummy food and of course, vacation. But what do these celebrations mean? Growing up I never understood what we were celebrating, all I knew was that I was going to see my family, eat food and perhaps receive some presents.
Now does it make you wonder why is it that we have these celebrations? Are we celebrating the real meaning or are we celebrating out of habit?
The novel “Signs Preceding the End of the World” that was translated by Lisa Dillman starts of by describing Makina’s journey, the main character. In the novel Makina is in search of her brother who has cross the border to the United States, along her journey she encounters many differences. One of those being culture differences, in the novel Makina receives a message from her brother where he mentions celebrations in the U.S., he tells her,
“they celebrate here, too, but they don’t dance or pray, its not in honor of anyone”.(p.110, from digital version)
Here we can see how even an “outsider” from this culture was able to notice how these celebrations had no meaning. We can safely assume that the brother was able to notice these meaningless celebrations because he was brought up to know the meaning and purpose of the celebrations in his culture.
Every culture has celebrations, and they all originated with a purpose, unfortunately these reasons get lost through generations. Not only does the original purpose of a celebrations gets lost but many other things, like the language spoken, music, dances and many other things.
So how do we make sure that our culture and celebrations continue on with meaning? By practicing, by doing, by participating and by knowing. The author lets us know that cultural history can easily be lost if we don’t use it, so it us up to us to know what we are celebrating and why we do it. It will also be more meaningful if we know.
Remember “if you don’t use it you lose it”.