Saturday night, my extended family gathered together for the yearly carnivorous carb-fest known as the Polish Dinner. This well-loved tradition was started years ago by my cousin’s wife Lisa, who (like us) is of Polish descent. Â The dinner is a chance for four generations to descend upon my cousin’s home, eating our way through pierogi and sausage and cabbage rolls and pagach and all kinds of delicious, artery-clogging fare. Â (This year, it also involved watching the epic Niners/Saints game. Â Those last few minutes were positively thrilling, and I don’t even LIKE football.)
I always look forward to this event, and not just because it is the one day during the year that I get to eat really good pierogi. Â I love the idea of celebrating the culture — well, one of the cultures — that has shaped me. Â My Polish heritage has played a huge part in making me who I am, giving me my looks (my resemblance to old photos of my grandma and her mother is pretty uncanny), and, even more significantly, my Catholicism. Â And though I can hardly claim a deep personal knowledge of the country and the language, I have dreams of traveling to Poland some day and seeing which sights, sounds, smells and textures strike a chord deep inside me.Â Â (I also really want to see Krakow, which looksÂ intoxicatingly beautiful.)
At any rate, I love this yearly tradition. Â And I love that my boys are growing up seeing that it’s good to celebrate the cultures that have, in ways you can’t necessarily even identify, made you who you are.
What about you? Â How do you celebrate your family’s culture? Â Do you have any favorite traditions or celebrations?