Holiday Heritage and the Gift of Language
For me, as for many, the holidays are about family. It is a special time to gather with those that we love; creating new memories while also fondly remembering days gone by. It is also a time when many of us continue with family traditions, many of which can be tied to our heritage. My family for instance eats German food every Christmas Eve. As the family matriarch, it is now my turn to prepare our traditional roladin, a flavorful stew like dish made of round steak. I sit here now and ponder on how for many of us, family traditions where passed down from generation to generation, but not our family’s language of origin. As my neighbor looks ahead to making her family traditional holiday meal, tamales, she has the gift of also being fluent in her family’s native language, Spanish. She recently shared with me how knowing the language spoken by her grandparents and their grandparents, helps her to feel more connected to them and her heritage, especially during this holiday season. At the Orange County Lingual Institute, one can go to learn the language of their family’s heritage. They offer classes in 20 different languages. As the holiday season approaches, I am looking to give myself a gift…the gift of learning the language of my heritage.