What's your culture?

Chatterbox: Down to Earth

What's your culture?

What's your culture? <3

I'm writing this while eating some leftover mooncakes because it was just Mid Autumn Festival! <3 Mid Autumn Festival (also called the Moon Festival) has been celebrated in East Asia for more than 3000 years! The original legend goes that the day of Mid Autumn Festival is the only day that Chang'e (the moon goddess) and Hou Yi (her lover), can meet. It's also a celebration of the harvest. Mid Autumn Festival is kind of similar to Thanksgiving. The most important food is mooncakes, but you also eat other round foods like pomelo, pumpkin, and tong yuen (glutunous rice balls, kind of like a hot, filled, mochi). 

I celebrate the Moon Festival because my family is from East Asia! My mom's family is Taiwanese and my dad's family is Chinese. They immigrated to the US when they were kids, so I was born and raised in the US. Unfortunately, I never learned how to speak Chinese. I'm kind of ashamed by this, but I was too embarrassed to learn because I thought the other kids at school would make fun of me. I'm learning Chinese at school now though! I'm pretty bad, but maybe I can talk to my grandparents in Chinese one day. <3

I'd love to hear about your culture! What kind of holidays do you celebrate? Do you speak any other languages? Do you practice a religion? What about you, Admins?

Reminder: Please be respectful! Cultural diversity is awesome. <3

<3 Fidelity

submitted by Fidelity
(October 6, 2020 - 4:44 am)

Yay, someone else who celebrates the Moon Festival! We made homemade mooncakes since my sister has allergies, but those and the store-bought ones are long gone. How do you still have some??? I love red bean mooncakes, they're probably my favorite. we also had mong bean, which was meh, and in the store-bought ones was and egg yolk which I didn't like. The salty didn't go well.

I celebrate the Moon Festival because my dad's side is Asian. He's technically from Canada, but his parents are from China. I can speak a little Chinese, but not much. My Chinese name is Li Ming, there's also a Chinese grocery store with that name. 

My mom's side is Haitian, both of my grandparents from that side are from Haiti. My mom grew up in New York, we used to go there all the time before my Grandma moved so she could be with us, she should be coming here later this year! Whenever it snows, we make akasan, a Haitian beverage made from  milk, corn flour, star anise, vanilla, and cinnamon. It is really delicious and perfect for a winter's day!

One day I hope to visit both China and Hati, maybe after COVID. I don't have any religions, but I do speak a little Spanish as well. We also celebrate Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year. That's the one with all the dragons. I don't think we celebrate any Haitian holidays, but we do celebrate New Years Day, Valentines Day, Easter, Independence Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. 

Well, that's my culture, I look forward to seeing other people's cultures!

submitted by Moondrop
(October 6, 2020 - 3:52 pm)

I've never made homemade moon cakes before! I'd love to see some pictures if you have them. The red bean ones are really good. I actually like the salty egg yolk ones a lot. They're a specialty in Hong Kong, which is where I'm living right now. I'm not quite sure what my Chinese name is, but I think it something to do with lychees? 

Akasan sounds so delicious! I might try making that, maybe with almond or soy milk because I'm lactose intolerant. XD

<3 Fidelity
submitted by Fidelity
(October 6, 2020 - 10:22 pm)

Heyyyyy, mooncake buddies! XD my entire family is Chinese, like literally everyone, and I can speak Chinese okay and write and read a little, but I'm not really good :p I've been thinking of practicing a lot more recently ... mainly because I want to be able to sing C-pop songs XD

submitted by Rainbow Riot
(October 6, 2020 - 5:22 pm)

I'm orthodox Jewish and Ashkenazi. We are actually currently celabrating the holiday Succos. On Succos there are two main things that we do: shake a lulav and esrog, which are plants, as well as eat and sleep in the Succah, which is kind of a hut, I guess? Ours has (slightly moldy XD) wooden walls and bamboo for the roof. Right now it's Chol Hamoed, which is different than the rest of the holiday, so that's why I can be on the computer. I can speak Hebrew well enough and hope to someday, be'ezras Hashem, move to Israel. 

The Moon Festival sounds really cool! I don't really know anyone from East Asia, so it's interesting to hear about.

submitted by Zahava S., age 13, the stars
(October 6, 2020 - 5:59 pm)

Whoa, sounds cool! 

submitted by Rainbow Riot
(October 6, 2020 - 10:20 pm)

Nice to meet another Jew! My whole family is Jewish, and I go to a Jewish school for a good Jewish education. My close family isn't orthodox but I think that most of my dad's side of the family is. They live in Israel. My family has started calling Sukkot "Nomadic Hut Appreciation Week." I have been learning Hebrew since kindergarden but I'm not very good. Also, we used to have two cats named Lulav and Etrog but they died. :(

submitted by Feline Fantasy
(October 9, 2020 - 7:19 pm)

THIS IS SUCH A COOL THREAD IDEA. I love learning about different countries and cultures and all that! I actually only learned about the Moon Festival this year, but now it seems to be popping up everywhere! I think I've had moon cakes before at a dim sum restaurant and they were good. 

I am part Japanese, part Mexican, and part European (I live in the U.S.) My family doesn't really use a lot of traditions from any of those cultures but we have celebrated Japanese New Year with my dad's family before, which was really fun. It coincides with the American new year, I think. All I really remember about the celebration was that we made sushi and had these little mochi stacks. Japanese food is amazing. I'm also taking Japanese as a language at school this year, which is really cool but also pretty hard.

I feel like my family is kind of more into Japanese-American culture and history than Japanese culture (and yes, they're different). A few years ago we went to Angel Island, which is this island off the coast of San Francisco that has a lot of history relating to the Japanese interment camps in World War II. My grandparents were interned when they were kids, and I've read some books about it too (The Journey to Topaz is really good if you want to check it out). So yeah! That ended up a little more depressing than I had intended, sorry. Again, this thread is amazing, I can't wait to hear more about everyone's cultures! <3 (Also, Fidelity, I think you've made me start using text hearts).

submitted by Lupine, Platform 9 and 3/4
(October 6, 2020 - 10:21 pm)

Yes! Another member of the text heart team. *Text heart confetti! <3* I'm sorry to hear that your grandparents had to live through internment. That was a really rough time. It's cool that you family has been in the US for so long though! Japanese/Asian American culture is very different. 

<3 Fidelity 

submitted by Fidelity
(October 7, 2020 - 11:46 pm)

Aw, darn it! I had the idea to make a thread like this, but completely forgot! Oh well. I love learning about different cultures.

So, my dad is from Puerto Rico, and my mom is white but speaks fluent Spanish, but somehow they never taught me much Spanish! So for most of my life my parents just spoke Spanish whenever they wanted to have a private conversation, even if I was in the room! I've been learning it through school with help from my mom, but I still can't really speak Spanish :/ Since we don't celebrate any different holidays or whatever, I guess I don't have that much of a different culture in my everyday life, except for listening to salsa music and sometimes eating Puerto Rican food. It's apparently a stereotype that Puerto Ricans talk loudly, and my family (and me sometimes) definitely fit in to that!

On my mom's side there's not much to say other than "typical white Southern Presbyterian Americans", although my grandma does love to tell about her great-grandfather(?) who was a whaler and got stuck on some island for a long time before they rescued him.

submitted by Azalea, age 13, Earth
(October 7, 2020 - 6:45 am)

I don't really know what cultures I would be from. But I was born, raised, and currently live in the USA, and some of my dad's relatives (grandparents, great aunts and uncles I think, etc.) were Mexican so I live to say I have some pretty close Mexican heritage. Now that y'all mention cultures, I might try to find out more about my heritage outside of American and Mexican. I've heard about a website that can tell you your ancestors, I might look into that kind of thing. 

Religion? I'm Catholic, although there are some things about it that make me sooooo mad. As in they're annoying, not as in I disbelieve them. I celebrate New Years Eve, we acknowledge Valentine's Day and occasionally go to a party, we celebrate Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Versus celebrating Halloween, we do All Saints Day and All Souls Day (November 1st and 2nd). I wish we did all three though. I've never gotten to dress up as anything other than a saint, and we don't trick-or-treat anymore. We also celebrate Christmas. 

I speak English primarily, and I'm learning Spanish and Hawaiian. My dad wants me to learn Greek.

I think that Japanese and Chinese culture (what I know of them, don't assume I know much) is really cool, and hearing about you guys' holidays in those areas, I now want to look more into it.  

submitted by Nyx, age 13 years, earth
(October 7, 2020 - 11:02 am)

This is so cool! 

My mom's family is Taiwanese, my grandparents immigrated to New York around the time they got married. 

My dad's family is a bit more complicated. His mom's family is from Sicily, Italy, and they came to the U.S. about one hundred years before I was born. His dad's father's family came from Ukraine when it was a part of the Soviet Union and his dad's mother's familly came from somewhere else in Europe.

I don't really celebrate any Chinese holdays, except Chinese New Year. I was born in the Year of the Rat, how about you? (And I'm turning 12. It's my second Year of the Rat this year!)

I keep trying to find Chinese mythology books but it's strangely hard. Does anyone have recommendations?

On the subject of learning the Chinese language, my grandmother on my mom's side is teaching my brother and me Mandarin for the first time, and I keep confusing it with Spanish because I'm learning that in school XD 

What dialect are you learning, Fidelity? I'm learning Mandarin. 

Mandarin is extremely hard to speak because it's a tonal language (like other dialects, I think.). That means the same sound can mean several different things depending on how you say it! For example, the sound "ma" can mean horse, mother, scold, or it can make your sentence into a question. 

There are four different tones in Mandarin, plus soft tones, which are used when you add a syllable to make a word plural, possesive, or a question.  

One of my favorite Chinese foods is cong you bing. (pronounced, tsong yo bing, with some accents I don't know how to type). It's also known as scallion pancake, and it's made with dough, scallions, and oil. Hence the name, which translates to scallion (cong) oil (you) bread (bing, roughly). 

That is kind of a random comment but I really enjoyed writing it and I really enjoyed reading all yours!

submitted by Luminescence, age XI, California
(October 7, 2020 - 12:31 pm)

That sounds really cool, Luminescence! I'm Year of the Boar, but something special about the year that I was born is that it's considered "Year of the Golden Pig," which apparently only comes every 500 years, so I think that's really cool. What Chinese Zodiac is everyone else?

submitted by Lupine, Platform 9 and 3/4
(October 7, 2020 - 2:11 pm)

That's so cool Lumi! <3 I didn't know there were so many people of Asian descent on the CB. I'm also learning Mandarin at school. People in Hong Kong speak Cantonese, so it's not super helpful. I used to take French too, and I also got confused even though the languages are totally different. I would say thinks like "Je xihuan les fraises" and just butcher both languages. XD I will say, I don't think Mandarin is as difficult as people think. The grammar is super easy (no verb conjegations) and Chinese is pretty easy to comprehend through listening. The characters are really fun to write! Anyone who likes art or calligraphy would like it a lot. 

I LOVE CONG YOU BING! <3 I always got the frozen ones at the supermarket and I would fry them by myself before I went to elementary school. It's very similar to Paratha, which is an Indian flatbread. It has all these yummy flaky layers and its so good. Sometimes we make homemade ones!

I'm year of the rooster! I think it fits me pretty well. Remember to wear red this year! There's a superstition that your birth year is unlucky, so be careful. But this year is kind of not so great for everyone. 

<3 Fidelity

submitted by Fidelity
(October 8, 2020 - 2:06 am)

You guys all have really cool cultures. I'm mostly Dutch and a little bit English. I live in a area that is mainly Dutch. I'm Christian, so we celebrate Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. And most of the smaller American holidays. What I like most about being Dutch is the food. We eat mostly american food, but also some traditional Dutch food. On special occasions we have stroop waffles, which are like thin wafers with caramel in between. Also Wilhelmina peppermints which are really good and have a picture of the Dutch queen Wilhelmina on them. The Netherlands are also known for tulips and every year a city called Holland (another name for the Netherlands) near me has a tulip festival where the city streets are lined with tulips everywhere and people dress up in traditional Dutch clothing. Some other cool things about my family is my grandparents lived in Germany for a time, and a few years ago we went to Germany and visited their landlords there. When I was younger I learned a bit of German but I don't remember it anymore. My other grandparents lived in Greece for a while and my dad grew up there. We also visited where they had lived in Greece. I learned a few Greek phrases like hello, no, and please, I also learned how to say can we have the bill please. A few times a year and for our Christmas party, we eat Greek food for dinner. There's also a cool Dutch holiday, which I've never celebrated, but my aunt and uncle do, is called Sinterklaas and is on December 5. You open your presents on that day instead of on Christmas. This is so that on Christmas day instead of focusing on presents, you focus on the true meaning of Christmas. That was a lot longer than I thought it would be, but basically that's my culture.

submitted by Barnswallow
(October 9, 2020 - 8:05 pm)

I am approximately 1/4 Greek, 1/4 Jewish, Ukranian, and possibly some Russian on my dad's side. I am approximately 3/8 German and I think 1/8 Irish on the my mom's side. My mom lived in Japan for three years as a teacher, so I know yes, no, and the song Jesus Loves Me in Japanese. I also know a couple words in German.

I am a protestant Christian and we celebrate Christmas, Easter, along with most other common holidays. I love Middle Eastern food including, Tsoureki, (Greek Easter bread) Spanakopita, Baklava, and pretty much all other Greek food. My mom's German almond cake is also fantastic. My mom will also make Asian food fairly often.

I know my great great grandmother migrated fro Ukraine to the US and one of my great great great grandmothers migrated from Greece to the US but I don't really know about anyone else.  

submitted by PandaGirl, age 11, New England
(October 10, 2020 - 11:59 am)