What is culture? By definition, culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group defined by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts. In my definition, culture is a group you are a part of in your heart and mind, people that you relate to in several ways. Family culture is a big part of most people's lives as they are growing up. My mother and father are both Puerto Rican and I grew up with their families' culture. They have many different traditions that I participated in growing up. Puerto Rico is a caribbean Island filled with green mountains, waterfalls, and tropical rainforests known for their white-sand beaches, coral reefs, beach bars, nightclubs and casinos. Tourist activities include, snorkeling, diving, surfing, and sailing. I've never visited Puerto Rico myself, being the only one in the family who hasn't..
I don't really feel like a part of the Puerto Rican culture since I feel so different from my family. Most times as a child I felt very left out and like I did not belong. A major difference between me and my family is that I am a vegetarian, and most traditional Puerto Rican dishes include meat; carne (beef) and pollo (chicken), jamon (pork) are main parts of many traditional Puerto Rican meals. Every holiday at my grandmother's house was spent sitting alone in the back room so I could avoid being asked about why I'm not eating and getting judged and picked apart for not eating meat.
Another difference is that I am the worst Spanish speaker in my family, so I felt left out from a lot of their conversations growing up since I didn't start speaking Spanish until recent years. Majority of my family are very religious church goers. They are avid followers of the Roman Catholic religion as most Puerto Ricans are. My mom did not baptise me as a child like all of my aunts and uncles baptised their children. I never was a part of that religion and it was weird for me as a child since I never went to church or practiced it.
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My grandmother would say prayers and talk about the bible and god and this would be very confusing and awkward for me since I never went to Sunday school like the rest of my cousins did.
Puerto Rican traditions are very interesting. One tradition that is celebrated every year is Christmas. On Christmas the whole family is supposed to be together. There is food, games, and presents. But one fun tradition that is done in Puerto Rico is las parrandas which are Christmas carols sung early in the morning to wake up sleeping family members. In Puerto Rico Christmas is celebrated for a very long time.
Festivities start in November and end in January when the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián. Puerto Ricans who are very religious, believe in the Three Wise Men who brought Jesus gifts when he was born. So by tradition, instead of Santa Claus bringing children gifts, the Three Wise Men bring the children gifts. Puerto Ricans also celebrate La Noche de St. John in addition to their Christmas festivities. People go to the beach that night and flip backwards into the ocean. This tradition is believed to rid people of their sins and of all bad luck. It is accompanied by dance, music, and food.
Although I've always felt left of as a child from my family's traditions after research I found many interesting and fun things that Puerto Ricans do that I would enjoy myself. The Puerto Rican culture is rich and I am proud to be a part of it even though most of my life I haven't been an avid part of this culture.
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