Day 86 – Melting cultures and families

I’m struggling with this one. My thoughts are there, but the words don’t seem to fall into the right place. But what I am trying to bring across today has to do with the afternoon Christmas walk. Tons of families went to the nearby castle to walk around while the men were blowing traditional midwinter horns. It’s an old craft. The long wooden horns are still hand made. The tradition gets passed on from grandfather to father to son. In the clear and crispy air, the sound carries far. Since it was a beautiful and clear day, the walk attracting many people on this second day of Christmas.

That’s right. Two days of Christmas. In the UK it’s called Boxing day and I think there’s also another country that has St. Lawrence day or something of the sort. But having a second day of Christmas is pretty rare. Another day with family. More food and more time to relax. So we went out as well, to enjoy some sunshine and exercise. I always love the forests around the abbey and castle. They are diverse and even though it’s winter, I still like to watch all the shades of brown and grey. I love the sound of the wind above our heads and the sound of crushed leaves under our feet.

We talked about cultures and traditions. Which holidays are important in your country? Why are they celebrated and mostly, how are they celebrated? Christmas is very different in Colombia. No such thing as a second day of Christmas. The first evening is much more important. The food is different. The whole extended family celebrates together, whereas here in the Netherlands it’s much more a celebration with immediate family. Different climates give different atmospheres to the holiday. I could go on and on.

Then I am just talking about Christmas. What about all the other traditions and elements of culture? The list is endless.

Culture is an interesting thing. I find it fascinating. Yet it is also the thing that drives wedges between communities and people. Even though we both might talk about the beautiful sides of it and appreciate the differences, we could also make a different choice and start arguing, because we believe one is better than the other.

That’s the point I think is important. Cultures are different. No denying about that. You can pretend to be colourblind, yet I think that would not do justice to the beauty that cultures offer. Yet somehow we manage to be family beyond cultural borders. It doesn’t matter where I would celebrate Christmas or with whom, as long as I feel a sense of unity I would be home. Family is not just a bond of blood and genes, it is bigger than that if you let it be bigger than biology.

Inviting people in your house beyond your family is a choice. Living in a family that is larger than just your relatives is a choice. Appreciating rather than judging culture is a choice.

It’s a choice I want to make. Because in the end we all live on the same planet. We feel the same sunshine on our faces. We all breath the same air. We are a family.

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