Culture Differences | Teen Ink

Culture Differences

September 5, 2008
By Anonymous

One of the many things that make each and every individual different is their culture. Culture is defined as “the system of shared behaviors, customs, beliefs, and values that the members of society use to cope with their world and with one another, and that are transmitted from generation to generation through learning”. In my terms, culture is what makes us who we are today. Take me for instance; I am half Irish and half Miami Indian. My great grandfather was Miami Indian and my grandfather was Irish. With culture, there are tons of factors involved. Some of these factors include what your namesake is and what it means, what type of food you eat, what religion you practice, what type of clothes you wear, and what traditions are made and continued on.
My cultural factors and experiences are completely different from anybody else. My namesake is actually my whole name. Abigail, my first name, is from the Bible. My parents named my after Saint Abba, and her name is the Hebrew word for “Daddy”. It is the scripture’s endearing term for God the Father. My middle name, Marie, comes from my godmother and from my Aunt Beth. Marie is both of their middle names so my parents thought that it would be a great middle name for me. Now, I know that my last name is past onto me, but it is still part of my namesake. My last name, Taylor, defines what family I belong to and what our culture is.
In my family, we really don’t have specific foods of our own culture to eat (and we just think that some of the Indian and Irish food are disgusting). I eat all kinds of foods from other cultures like almost every other American. I eat types of delectable foods like Chinese, Mexican, and Italian. I don’t eat these foods all the time, but I do have my share of them.

I am a practicing Catholic and attend Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. The summer of ’08 I went on a confirmation trip with my church to Holy Cross College in Notre Dame, Indiana. When we first arrived at Holy Cross College, we all went into the gigantic yard in the front of the main building and were assigned groups that we were to report to everyday. We introduced ourselves and from then on, we all connected in a spiritual way with each other. The five day retreat really put my religion into perspective and made me understand more about the mass, ways of life to live, and why we should honor and love God. We were going to be confirmed and I finally understood what that meant and why I should care so much about being a Catholic. We were confirmed in the evening of the day that we traveled back to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. After the Confirmation Mass was over, I was relieved and felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off of me. Ever since that night I was confirmed, I promised to myself and God that I would always follow His ways and let Him guide me in the right direction in any situation, big or small.

Another factor of my culture is what I wear. Being half Irish, I knew that I had to devote myself to support any sports team or college that represents anything Irish. I know that it sounds cheesy or absolutely ridiculous, but that is just how I am. For example, you might see me wearing a Notre Dame Sweatshirt or shirt. I also have a book bag that has an Ireland soccer team’s logo on it. Recently, I have bought a necklace that has the Ireland flag on it, which I think is really awesome! I know that I am half Miami Indian, but I don’t even think that I could imagine myself wearing anything Indian! I would personally look ridiculous. I guess I am still working on my second part of my cultural clothing.

In my family, we have tons of traditions that we have recently started or have continued to do for awhile now. About three years ago, my family decided that we would go to Brown County every year. We would go there to view the insignificant shops and dedicate ourselves to having a flawless time on a smothering, yet gorgeous, day. As usual, we would saunter around the town all day, going in and out of the antique shops with undoubtedly no intention to buy anything. Well, that is what my dad thinks. Then he realizes that he was wrong big time when he and I are the ones dragging the bags out to the car! Since he is surrounded by four girls, he really can’t be too upset because it could have been worse. He could have had to drag all of the bags to the car by himself. After we are all worn out, we search for a good place to eat. Once we finish up with dinner, we all wearily walk back to the car and load up. “The trip was a success” as my mom would say while my dad moaned about how much money they spent. At least he learns something new every time we go there.

A couple of long existing traditions for my family are Christmas decorating and going to the zoo at Christmas time with friends and eating at the Spaghetti Factory. Let’s just say that Christmas decorating at my house is one of the best times of the year for us. We always do it, and we always do it over-the-top! We decorate for Christmas a month early and take it all down a month later than anybody else. My dad, older sister, and I all go “decoration crazy” when it comes to making our house look like a “winter wonderland” on the outside even though it is just as crazy as in the inside. We hang up what seems to be like a bazillion strands of lights that are required to be colorful. It’s amazing how we can be outside decorating in the freezing cold for over ten hours in one day and still be all cheery and joyous! By the time we finish it all up, my dad and sister are shivering to death and I am trying to come down from the ladder (which is pretty hard considering I am usually up there in the same position for about two hours in the deadly cold). Luckily, my mom and younger sister make us hot chocolate and make a fire for us to unthaw by for a long time. Christmas decorating is so exhausting, but I have to admit that I do enjoy the company of my family when I do it.

My family’s second long existing tradition is going to the zoo at Christmas time with friends and then eating at the Spaghetti Factory. Every year around December 15, my family and friends all dress warmly in their comfy coats and wool scarves to go to the Indianapolis Zoo. We love to go when there are lights up everywhere, a visiting Santa, cookie decorating, and train rides in the snow. When we get through the entrance gates, we all migrate like animals slowly from exhibit to exhibit (the ones that are open). We arrive at the dolphin show and get excited to see the dolphin show that is based on Christmas. Once the show ends, we walk around some more and then travel towards the train ride. Every time we have gone on the train ride, it snows. I don’t know why, but I think it is a sign. I think we are rewarded with snow every time everybody attends our tradition, which has been every year except one. When we get off, we start heading for the exit and say our goodbyes. We all say that we will miss seeing each other and can’t wait until next year. Christmas at the zoo is something that I really appreciate doing and love even more each and every year.

Culture really does define every individual and every family as you can see. Without cultural differences, we would all have the same traditions. If everybody else did the same traditions as me, I don’t think that it would be as entertaining when people tell about their experiences. Culture is very significant and is positively necessary to celebrate.

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