In a fast-paced world, holding onto those things of the past that make today worth living can seem tricky. Keeping your heritage alive is important not only for your family but for maintaining the beauty that is the melting pot complexity of this world. Not sure how to get started? Keep reading below for five easy tips you can start incorporating into your daily routine today!
1. Food is the Way to the Heart (and the Heritage)
Who can resist a good home-cooked meal? Better yet, who can resist one with a story? Every ingredient of a traditional dish tells some facet of your heritage’s narrative; it tells a story of geography, of scarcity and abundance, of trade and innovation. Appreciate this by digging in! Get in the kitchen and cook together as a family, or compile a recipe book of family recipes to pass on to future generations. You could even incorporate more traditional tools or styles of cooking and preparation into your family-cooking, such as a tea ceremony or gathering around the table to create a secret spice blend.
2. Life Imitates Art
Make it a point to be aware of important artists that represent your heritage. This can include both artists from history and those within your community. If possible, purchase art or artistic services from those people in your community to give back and support small, independent businesses. At home, take the time to instruct younger generations the ways of your culture’s music, dance, and traditional attire.
3. Don’t Ignore One of Your Most Powerful Senses
It is thought that scent is one of the most powerful of the senses, in particular as it is related to memory. Have you ever caught a whiff of someone’s perfume in passing or the smell of a spring flower, and had it completely transport you back in time to the place you most associated with that scent?
Take advantage of this scent sense superpower by utilizing it as a way to preserve pieces of your culture through generations to come. Whether it’s a refreshing scent that populated your memory of hazy childhood summers (such as Grapefruit or Cilantro), one that warmed you and cloaked you on brisk winter days (such as Cinnamon Bark or Douglas Fir), or perhaps the fragrance that instantly reminds you of mom’s signature spice in a home-cooked meal (like Cardamom, Oregano, or Fennel), these smells are sure to bring a recollection of memories flooding. There’s a wide array of essential oils offering invigorating, relaxing, and homey aromas perfect for setting the right atmosphere and capturing the essence of your home.
4. Connect With Your Community
Keep an eye out for events in your community that reflect and celebrate your culture. Having trouble finding one of these events? Take the initiative and organize one! Consider bringing those from other cultures with you so that they may partake in learning about and celebrating your heritage.
5. Keep Up With the Family Tree
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important that you choose to do it and stick with it! Fill scrapbooks with photos and ancestry charts, and records of quotes and integral stories received from interviewing older relatives. For marginalized communities, staying heard, recognized, and alive can be difficult; start with a tight familial bond that believes in the awareness of its own history.
Whether it’s a scent, a photo, or a meal from scratch, these are the moments that connect people. These are the moments that connect and weave together the beautiful, complicated stories of heritage.