Whether you’re living in your native land, the country of your ancestors, or you have immigrated to another country a generation or several generations ago, maintaining your cultural, national and religious heritage and beliefs is of the utmost importance.
All of these things are a part of your identity and your family’s or nation’s past or present, and in order to preserve your identity, it’s vital to keep your culture alive no matter where you are. Of course, if you’re living in the country of your ancestors and your entire family has lived there for centuries, it’s easier to do so as everyone and everything around you is loaded with history and you follow a lifestyle that is dictated by your culture, religion or national rules.
However, given the melting pot that the world has become, along with globalization and external trends, there are times when holding on to your heritage is a real challenge. Still, there are both little and big things you can do to preserve it no matter where you live, and today we’re exploring five fairly easy things you can do to keep the spirit of your nation alive.
Visit your place of worship
Whether you’re a Muslim, Catholic, Jewish, Orthodox Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or follower of any other religion in the world, make time to visit your place of worship, be it a mosque, a church or a temple. Get in touch with your religious side, even if you’re not that religious. Preserving your religious heritage is very close to preserving your national one, even though there are tons of countries in which the state and church are completely separate. Do your best to go at least on special occasions, and more frequently if you have the time. Read your religion’s holy books, get to know your religion’s history. This way, not only will you be able to practice your religion to the extent you wish, but also possess knowledge of it, which always makes you more interesting to other people.
Don’t forget your language
If you have, for instance, moved from the Middle East, Asia, Africa or Europe to the US or any other English-speaking country, don’t let yourself forget your native language. Your language is one of the most important pillars of your nation, and forgetting it is like forgetting your country and everything your ancestors stood for and believed in. With so many beautiful languages already extinct, it’s your duty to preserve yours.
So, even if you have to, for example, speak English (or any other language of the country you live in) when you’re at school, work, with friends or visiting public institutions, there is no reason you shouldn’t speak in your native language in your home. Aside from preserving your identity, you’re also preserving your relationships with your parents, as well as possible cousins you may have in your mother land.
Hold on to the little things
If your family owns something that is characteristic of your nation, culture or religion, make sure you take good care of it, and even put it in a prominent place. If you have an old photograph of your city, frame it. If you practice Islam, you can choose to wear a hijab or at least keep your grandmother’s or mother’s in a nice drawer. If you own old folk wear, keep it in a safe and dry place and even wear it on special occasions – national or religious holidays – to preserve a sense of tradition. Keep small things like cute little Russian dolls in a prominent place in your home to remind you of your Russian background. Wear a turban if it’s part of your national heritage. It’s a statement that tells the world who you are, and that you’re a proud keeper of your
Bring the scent alive
If your grandmother or mother is a great cook, learn from her how to prepare national delicacies. Food is a huge part of everyone’s culture and identity, and just like a language, it can die if you don’t keep it alive. In this age of globalization, which has its good sides, we tend to blend everything together, be in with the new and out with the old. Younger generations have a huge tendency to adopt global trends and become oblivious to the old traditions. Eating food that comes from different countries is amazing, but don’t forget to keep your own recipes alive and fill the home with those familiar scents.
Don’t be a stranger
If your parents or grandparents left your native country a long time ago, chances are you have never got to see it. In the spirit of knowing where and how your ancestors lived, and also in the spirit of inculcating the same knowledge into your present or future kids, it’s important to get in touch with your roots. Visiting your place of origin won’t only give you insight into the architecture and historic monuments, but will also awaken your national spirit and a sense of patriotism. This will, in turn, make you more sentimental and prone to preserving the values of your native country wherever you are. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being two people, loving two countries, belonging to two cultures. If anything, it makes you richer, and that is something that should never be underestimated.