Culture is a word difficult to explain, because it refers to the way we do things but is much more than that. Our culture creates for us memories and feelings that become part of who we are. All of the celebrations in a country are part of that culture. During the month of November, we celebrate in America one of the most important celebrations of the year: Thanksgiving.
Mexico has one beautiful celebration in November as well, the Day of the Dead. If you watched the movie “Coco,” you have a pretty good idea what I am talking about. If you haven’t watched it, I recommend you do. It is a great way to learn about this Mexican celebration.
At the beginning of November, I found myself teaching my students about this Mexican tradition celebrated every year on Nov. 2. As I was explaining to one of my groups of students the importance of this day, my excitement grew higher, and I really wanted them to understand my emotion and the feelings that invaded me at that moment.
I said just imagine that one day, you go and live in another country where they speak a different language than yours and you get to explain a group of people what “Thanks Giving” is in the United States. You would have to explain a little bit of the history of your country so your audience understands where this celebration started. As you are far from that beloved land of yours, you will re-live all the times you celebrated it as you explain.
You would think and talk of how happy you were during those family celebrations. You would remember how much you laughed and how many games you played. You would enjoy in your mind again all those foods you ate. Somehow all those experiences shaped you to be who you are today. Then, you would look at all those faces that can barely make sense of how much it means to you, because here it means nothing, and you would just carry on to have a normal working day on such important holiday.
And that is how being bicultural feels. You have celebrations that you celebrate in your heart and in your mind, celebrations that are old and that you learned since you were born and that mean nothing for others around you. You also have celebrations that are newer, that you learned during your time in this country and that bring you a feeling of belonging to this new place — celebrations that bring people together and that show you who your new family is.