The Think Write Thursday topic for March 16, 2017 is to write about your heritage. Are you Irish and ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow? Are you Italian or Greek or English? Tell us about your ethnic background and culture and how the traditions of your heritage fit into your lifestyle.
Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day and, while I agree with the sentiment that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, I am not, in fact, Irish. What I am mostly is English but I’m also Swedish and some other things like Welsh and Scottish. My mother was 100% English. Our relatives came over on The Fortune, so the story goes, and the bloodline stayed predominantly English from there on down to my mom. My father was 50% Swedish, 25% English and 25% other stuff. The other stuff, we’re pretty sure, included being Welsh and Scottish and (probably) Native American. You know it’s all mostly family lore and I’ve never really tried to research much of this, just believing the stories that came from my parents and grandparents. As a researcher once told Dale when he was trying to prove that he is a Mayflower descendant – if you look too closely into this you might find out your family story is wrong. It might be better to not know for sure and just go with the legend.
The Swedish and English background I have, though, is not legend and those cultures have definitely been part of our family traditions. Being Swedish is a big deal to us, especially at Christmas time. There’s the meatballs, of course, but also the glogg and the decorations and solstice celebrations. Being English is a bigger deal to me than it is to Dale (although he’s 50/50 English and Swedish) and we celebrate Thanksmas with Christmas crackers but as far as English traditions and culture, well, that’s about it. I think, perhaps more than being English, it’s about being a Yankee. We identify closely with New England heritage and history, that spirit of independence and revolution, growing up eating suppers of baked beans and hot dogs with brown bread on Saturday nights, going to church on Sunday mornings and eating Sunday dinner afterwards, drives to the Cape and swimming in the chilly Atlantic Ocean, bragging about snowstorms and hurricanes, and drinking Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee year round. So, while we recognize our ethnic backgrounds, it’s certainly our regional heritage and traditions that play out on a daily basis.
I’ve actually truly enjoyed thinking about this whole topic and am planning on having a discussion with Dale about his thoughts on all of this too, the differences between culture and ethnicity, the way our parents influenced how we interpret our backgrounds and more. It’s the stuff of great drinks conversation, right?
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