Unit 9 Cultural Expressions Assignment
Cultural expressions can be defined as practices, traditions, or beliefs people were taught, participate in or follow. As with any ethnicity, cultural expressions are beliefs that many were raised doing and those beliefs stay with them and view as a part of the family history. Traditionally, cultural expressions are in the form of verbal expressions, expressions by actions, symbols, musical expressions, or even tangible expressions. As an African American woman, I have always taken pride in the cultural expressions that have been passed down by my parents. Regardless of the family size, families recognize a variety of cultural expressions to pass down history or keep the family close. In my paper, I will focus on recipes, holiday traditions, and religion as the three main ways my family express ourselves culturally.
My mother was one of fourteen and had developed her own style of cooking over the years. She was known for her cooking, but the one recipe everyone keeps raving about is her honey Bundt cake. This cake is a mixture of cinnamon goodness and pecans and so many people requested her to make it for them. I remember her telling me that she found the recipe in a magazine, but over the years, she added her own twist to the recipe. As I got older, more and more people would request my mom’s cake for various functions. I’ll never forget the day she called me and asked me to help her make some cakes for an event. The both of us were working the batter simultaneously while we had two cakes in the oven baking. It was in that moment, that I knew I had to get a hold of this recipe and continue making the cake in honor of my mother. This recipe is worth keeping as it reminds me of the times we spent together making this cake for so many people the bond I had with my mother. Even though my mom has been gone for four years, people are still talking about her Honey Bundt cake.
Holiday time is a big to do in my family. One holiday in particular that my family goes all out on is Christmas. The festivities would start the day after Thanksgiving with my mom and dad pulling out the decorations from the storage closet. From there, every night would include some sort of activity that we all could participate in. We would spend time baking a variety of goodies, sharing the true story behind Christmas, and putting up decorations. Another activity that my mom used to do was allow us to help her wrap the gifts that we had for other people. Even though my mother is longer with us, my father still insists on putting up decorations since he knows that this is what my mother would have done. Typically, my brother and his son and his grandsons come over to help my father put the decorations up and make sure they are exactly how mom would have had them in the yard. By continuing to put up the Christmas decorations, it allows our family to continue gathering together and doing the things that we would have done even if our mother was still here. It’s also a way for us to spend additional time with our father and keep him encouraged during this time as well.
Christianity is something that my family has always believed in and that belief system was instilled in us at a very early age. While growing up, my parents were very strict about us attending church on Sunday, going to Bible study on Wednesday, and attending choir rehearsals with them on Thursday. Even through all of that, they showed us how to have faith in God. We would get together Saturday night after dinner and go over our Sunday School lessons and share our interpretation of the lesson. My father was the Sunday School teacher for the adult class and offered a lot of information as it related to the lesson, but more in detail. I remember studying with my father for a lesson and he shared with me how he studies for his lesson. The books that he used are the same ones that I have used and still use to this day. They allow me to dig deeper into the scripture and gain another perspective of the lesson.
If someone saw only the list of my cultural expressions, they might conclude that I was someone who valued faith and family. They could see how family-oriented I am and how my faith is what helps keep me humble or grounded. An incorrect assumption someone could make by looking at this list would be to assume that I am a selfish person who is only concerned about myself. I would like to say what would be accurate would be that I am someone who a person of faith and that my family and the memories we have are what I hold dear to my heart. These things combined is what keeps me going and pushes me to be a better person all around. The memories of my mother will never go away for she the one who showed me how to be a woman and to take care of myself. My love for my mother is what I pull off of to keep going and to further build upon my relationship with my father. My faith is what keeps me grounded and sane in the time of trouble or when obstacles come. Just knowing that if I continue to do and live right, that my God will allow me to see my mother yet again.