December 11 – Other Traditions
Did your family or friends also celebrate other traditions during the
holidays such as Hanukkah or Kwanzaa? Did your immigrant ancestors have
holiday traditions from their native country which they retained or
The area where I grew up in Minnesota was not very diverse. The population was about 98% white when I was growing up, mostly German Catholics or Lutherans of Scandinavian descent. That means there was Christmas. You might have heard or read about Hannukah, but as something people far away might celebrate. Today, the area is much more diverse, through the concerted efforts of a number of political and social factions that have worked very hard to prove "we are so a diverse city!" I have some issues with this, but that's fodder for another blog post at another time.
There were no local Jews that I was aware of, although it wouldn't surprise me if we had a small, very quiet Jewish community under the radar. Now, as an adult, I know a number of Jewish people in the area, so I tend to see many more references to their holidays and traditions than I did growing up, especially online.
There was no such thing as Kwanzaa. In fact, Kwanzaa still feels like a manufactured holiday to me, there's no history or tradition for it in my experience. Wikipedia says it was created in 1966, which makes it younger than me by just a little bit. And the article goes on to describe how and why it was created, which just confirms to me it was a made-up thing.
If you celebrate Kwanzaa, don't think I'm putting your tradition down. You can even wish me a joyous Kwanzaa if you like, I won't be offended. But it's not my tradition, I don't "feel" it. I don't really "get" Hannukah, either, but I'm not offended by people who celebrate that. And I hope if I wish you a Merry Christmas, you'll also not be offended if that's not your tradition.
This and all other articles on this blog are © copyright 2012 by Daniel G. Dillman