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Preserving Our Cultural Legacy: Adapting Traditions for the Next Generation

Happy Holi to everyone celebrating around the world! It's my favorite festival, and I have countless memories from my childhood of playing Holi outside with friends. The festival was always colorful, messy, and wet. Despite living in multiple places over the years, I've tried to stay connected to my culture, and Holi remains one of my favorite festivals.

Last year, I cooked a variety of treats and savories for the entire week and invited my friends over for dinner. This year, I didn't do as much, but I did make a few gujiyas. A few years ago, I posted the gujiya recipe, which was well-received by many people. If you're interested in trying it out, here's the link

Yesterday, as I was making gujiyas, my husband joined me in the kitchen. It reminded me of how important family is during festivals. Everyone comes together to create delicious festive delicacies and enjoys the fruits of their labor. However, I wonder how many families continue to cherish their culture and traditions.

In recent years, there has been a shift towards nuclear families, and the younger generation has become increasingly distant from their roots. Only a few of them appreciate the customs and traditions that have been passed down for generations. This realization makes me sad, as we may be the last generation to keep these traditions alive.

Even for gujiyas, I've noticed that most people I meet don't make them themselves. Instead, they talk about how their grandmothers and mothers used to make them. It seems that life has become so busy that we have become slaves to the clock and don't have time for many things, especially traditional activities.

However, we still find time to plan theme parties and gatherings where delicious food is served. In some countries, potlucks have become a large family gathering method. So, even though our lives have become busier, we can still make time to connect with our culture and traditions.

If you ever feel overwhelmed during a festival or holiday, consider talking to your friends about making a traditional dish and bringing it to the party. After all, humans are social creatures and crave each other's company, and who doesn't like delicious food?

So, what would the younger generation, Gen. Z, do? I believe they can pick up the most beautiful and meaningful traditions from their older generations and infuse them with their own creativity and style. They can celebrate with a newfound passion for making the occasion even more special. By honoring the past while embracing the present, they can create a beautiful tapestry of culture and tradition that will be treasured for generations to come.

Humans live for an average of 100 years, and that is not enough time to grasp the entire world's knowledge." This is why it's crucial to learn from others while you can, to discover the most valuable and treasured customs and beliefs that have been passed down through generations.

Today, the responsibility of keeping traditions alive lies with the next generation, Gen Z. The weight of this duty cannot be overstated, for it is through these traditions that we connect with our past and preserve our cultural heritage. Without their continued efforts, the risk of losing these cherished practices is great. Therefore, it's important to think about the future and imagine what the next generation will do if we fail to pass on these traditions. Let us all work together to ensure that these customs and beliefs endure for generations to come.

My intention is not to add pressure on the younger generation. Research has shown that whatever is forced or pressured tends to get ignored. Instead, I suggest adopting and adapting the essence of traditions from the older generations and preserving them to pass on to the next generation. We can ensure that these customs and beliefs remain relevant and valuable by infusing them with fresh ideas and new perspectives. It's not about retaining everything as it is but rather finding ways to honor the past while making it relevant to the present. By doing so, we can preserve a percentage of our cultural heritage and pass it on to future generations so that they, too, can cherish and celebrate our rich history and traditions. I also gained knowledge from cultures beyond my own and adopted their best practices.

Our parents would understandably want us to follow in their exact footsteps, but as time passes and circumstances change, it's only sometimes feasible or desirable to do so. Despite this, I take pride in sustaining some of our cultures even after living outside the country for over two decades. Every time I return to India, I feel a sense of nostalgia and longing for the way things used to be. However, I also recognize that I am not the same person I was or exactly like my parents.

What's important is that I remain a good human being who values humanity and has retained a part of our ancestors' legacy. I don't need to have all the answers or be a perfect representative of our culture, but if my children can inherit even 5% of what I have preserved, I will be content. It's not about trying to be someone we're not but rather about embracing the best of what our culture has to offer and passing it on to the next generation in a way that is authentic and meaningful to us.