There are certain notions, such as heritage that appear to be ever-present throughout human history. For centuries, people (and nations) have had an almost inexplicable infatuation with their ancestry. Sometimes, pursuing their past led people to anguish, while other times it brought prosperity. However, regardless of the reward, the desire to uncover our heritage never wavered. One could even argue that the desire to uncover our roots has never been greater than at this very moment in time.
Some companies are flourishing and enabling people to pinpoint their personal histories almost to the tee. With that said, few people wonder what comes after we open the envelope and uncover our heritage. In other words, how do we connect with tradition and culture that is historically our own but appears to be worlds and continents apart? To help bridge the gap between us and our ancestry, this article examines a few ways to rediscover and connect with our cultural identity.
Love goes through the stomach
More than a few world languages use one variation or another of this phrase to signal the connection between cuisine and infatuation. While the connection most commonly refers to romantic love, the argument can be made for a connection between culture and cuisine as well. Thus, discovering traditional meals is a delicious albeit unconventional way to go about shaping your cultural identity.
There is abundantly more tradition in cuisine than first meets the eye. The spices, the dishes, and the places where a traditional meal is made are all clues that will take us one step closer to our ancestry. A simple spice such as cumin found in most Indian dishes holds centuries of history and tradition within it. Furthermore, observing the cooking process will let us in on another secret – cultural family ties. It will help us understand the culturally predetermined roles of each family member and their dynamics within the family unit.
Long-forgotten artifacts of our past
In terms of possessions, the philosophy of the 21st century is minimalist. However, while hoarding is never welcome, possessions are not something to shy away from, especially when we are in search of our heritage. Objects, both grand and petite, may hold an abundance of information about our past and thus our culture. The woodwork on a night table or the pattern on a carefully woven scarf can hold secrets about the traditions our ancestors cherished, possibly not that long ago.
However, finding objects that may bring us closer to our ancestry is sometimes difficult, especially when there are oceans and continents between us. In this case, it may be worthwhile to consider hiring a firm that offers probate genealogy services. While they work with corporations and solicitors, professional genealogists offer their services to individual customers as well. This is important for the process of identifying heirs to the estate and proving their right to inheritance. Thus, working with a professional may lead you down the right path and help you uncover long-lost family heirlooms and cultural connections.
A storyteller’s perspective
From time to time, we will encounter people who are cultural melting pots – they hold a piece of a countless number of nations and cultures within them. For them, connecting with their past is an uphill battle. After all, it’s not always possible to travel to each nation and immerse yourself in its culture. However, physical travel is fortunately not a prerequisite for discovering a cultural identity.
There is a (possibly) old saying that readers live a thousand lives before they die. The truth is, stories have an uncanny way of transporting us through time and space, to cultures similar and different from our own – in short, they represent the ideal way of discovering one’s culture while sitting by the afternoon fire. On the one hand, novels will introduce you to folklore stories and legends, while poems will help you better understand the symbolism of your ancestors. Each new story will lead to the next, opening up an endless string of cultural connections and relations that go far beyond history books and journalistic reporting.
There is no one correct path to re-discovering your roots. Rather, this is a process composed of bits and pieces from every aspect of our mundane lives – cuisine, literature, and even furniture. Thus, whichever path we chose is correct, as long as we keep searching for the place we once and now belong to.
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