Thursday, February 19, 2015

Happy Year of the Ram/Goat/Sheep

Happy Year of the Ram!
Happy Year of the Goat!
Happy Year of the Sheep!

Since we're not so sure what to call it--I wanted to cover all the bases. 

Speaking about being unsure, I have to admit to not knowing what traditions to uphold and how to make Lotus feel good about this holiday when I don't really knowwhat I'm doing. 

When I lived in England, my British family had a friend who had raised his child as a Jew but the rest of the family was Episcopalian. Rick, had served his country in WWII and had been at Bergen Belsen when it was liberated. He met the boy, Art, who he would take home and raise as his own. (There's a lot more to the story, but I'll post that another time.)

One of the ways they raised Art, was as a Jew. They had a lot of issues with that. First, a lot of synagogues would not let Art join alone, but only as part of a family.  That would be understandable but the family was Christian, raising a child as a Jew. They didn't know what they were doing. So they became friendly with a couple that would often take Art to temple services. They celebrated the holy days with guidelines from plenty of books. Art was a grown man when I met him, expecting his first grandchild who was due any day. I made potato latkes for him and talked about being raised as a Jew with Jewish parents. He loved his parents and he felt Jewish, but he also knew there were some goofs along the way.  When passover came, they thought that he only had to abstain from leavened items for two days.  (I never understood why the people who took Art to temple didn't disabuse him of this notion.)

I realize that when Lotus grows up and starts spending Lunar New Year with more Asians she'll be full of the goofs I make. I know that I'll never be able to make her a whole fish--as I'm allergic to it. I wanted to dress her in her silks but she wanted her "Pretty Dress" and hey, it's her holiday and she's two and I didn't make a thing of it.

For those reading this who are raising a child born of a culture that you're not--how do you handle this? What do you do?

For everyone wishing you a  Gung Hay Fat Choy!  Joy, and prosperity in the new year!


  1. I'm so glad you try! If nothing else you get to experience the other culture too. I feel vaguely lost with the traditions I was raised in to make them 'right' for my family. I think celebrating can never be wrong so Wealth and Prosperity to you too! (and happy ICLW)

  2. I never even thought about this when celebrating. We chose to raise our daughter in my husband's religion to make things easier since most of my family is now dead.

  3. My daughter is Chinese, and we have done the Kai-lan thing for years. I also have a couple friends that are Malaysian that we see regularly. We also go to the Asian grocery store to make sure we provide her some of the "local" food she was used to eating before she came to us. We have a great noodle place (Taiyuan was the home of the noodle).

    Lately, since she turned 5, we visit the Chinese community center, are having her re-learn mandarin, and making sure that we address the questions that come up.