Today is the second day of Diwali, the Indian festival of light. Depending on what region you're from, and what religion you practice, the specific meaning of the holiday may be different, but the ways it's celebrated are relatively standard. Lights are hung, candles and lamps and fireworks are lit, sweets are shared, and families try to be near one another.
This is my first Diwali as a member of an Indian family, and thus far Dr. P and I have done little by way of celebration. Our little family has inherited a robust collection of cultural identities, from Momo's Jewish ancestry, to Dr. P's Hindu culture, or the traditional Anglo-Christian customs from my Dad's family. Each branch carries a distinct calendar of festivals and holidays, and rites and passages, and while the prospect of paying each their due respect can be a bit daunting I also realize that our observance of any or all of these things will be a choice. So this year, instead of charging forward into the cultural bounty, we're taking things slow and thinking hard about forming an identity as a family unit.
Which brings us to last night. In honor of Diwali, Dr. P and I lit a few candles and discussed what Diwali meant to him as a child, what it means to him now, and what we hope our children will someday cherish about this celebration of light and new beginnings. We came up with a list of traditions, some new and some ancient, that we plan carry on with our family. The plan is to repeat this process with pretty much every holiday this year. Maybe we'll even share a few of our ideas here on the blog.
Cross-cultural marriages are becoming more and more common, and I often wonder how others have chosen to manage merging experiences? We'll be sure to let you know how it goes for us, but any experienced-based wisdom would be much obliged!