Yet if you come to our home, you wouldn’t know that this is an important Asian holiday.
I considered waiting for Lunar New Year to pass before sharing photos of our home.
The lack of red Chinese banners, lanterns, and other festive ornaments felt hypocritical.
While my daughter has enjoyed many Chinese New Year crafts and activities, most have been recycled or stored away.
Our unfestive Lunar New Year
But my parents are deceased, and my in-laws live on the other side of the United States.
This Lunar New Year, after I finished work, we continued our weekly tradition:
- Rushing to my daughter’s dance class
- Eating sandwiches-on-the-go, and
- Getting the kids in bed as early as possible
Since my husband was working late at the hospital, the kids didn’t see him that night.
No authentic Chinese food here
Regardless of our schedule, I can’t cook authentic Asian dishes for the life of me.
Cooking is not my strength, in contrast to my mother who made Chinese meals from scratch every night.
Regretfully, the recipe details are hazy in my memory, though I am nostalgic for the warmth of eating together.
While I crave the occasional dim sum experience, salads and green smoothies are more my thing these days.
What about Korean traditions?
Perhaps I should keep mum about the fact that my husband and I are unfamiliar with Korean traditions for Lunar New Year.
After all, our kids have been learning 3 languages for a few years. Can we really learn language without culture?
Shouldn’t Asian people know this stuff?
Letting go of Asian Guilt on Lunar New Year
I share the guilt that many Asian Americans harbor for abandoning cultural traditions, forgetting their mother tongue, or avoiding speaking with an accent.
During this time of year, I have been going through the motions of preparing cultural crafts that I understand superficially.
But I see how much joy these activities bring to my daughter, and my son lights up when he feels involved, too.
Culture can be shared and enjoyed in many ways without the burden of guilt.
Relearning Chinese language allows me to feel connected to my parents. We will learn our way, however unconventional it may be.
Korean food wins over my husband’s heart. But he rarely gets to eat it, is forgiving about my culinary deficiencies, and is grateful to have food on the table.
For others, maybe anything Asian is overwhelming, and that’s okay, too.
More reassurance for bilcultural families
- 7 Reassuring Facts About Raising Bilingual Children
- Auntie’s Advice on Accents: Be Patient, and Take the Time to Listen
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