In my home, I know it’s the holidays when cranberry sauce, hand-rolled Chinese dumplings and five-spice turkey hit the table.
That’s what we had on ours last week, when John and I hosted a Thanksgiving dinner in our home. He and I like to joke that it’s a tradition now, that the season just wouldn’t be right without it, even though it’s only our second year of hosting people for the holiday.
In fact, this so-called tradition happened by accident. Last year, the friend I hoped to spend the holiday made her plans without us, and we weren’t invited. Damn. Just as I started imagining a Thanksgiving without the dinner, my husband said, “why don’t we make it ourselves?” Before I knew it, we invited friends over and I culled together a menu that married East and West, like our relationship. Chinese five-spice turkey with soy sauce, honey and ginger. Mashed potatoes and roasted root vegetables. Hand-rolled Chinese dumplings with daikon, kimchi and tofu. Cranberry sauce like my aunt used to make.
Our tradition looks nothing like what I grew up with in Cleveland, Ohio. Then again, any tradition involving Thanksgiving — and especially built around eating turkey — never existed for John until he married me. When you build a life with someone from another culture, sometimes you just learn how to transcend your past and create a new future, something that feels as tangible as the traditions you once knew (or never knew).
But I’m sure of one thing — Thanksgiving never tasted so good.
How have you transcended your traditions to create new holiday traditions that reflect your cross-cultural life/relationship/marriage?