CULTURE SHOCK

Life in Queens (the Most Diverse Borough of the Most Diverse City in the World)

Exoticism of Culture

Whether you are white, black, brown, a person of color, mixed race, or any other classification of race, you’ve most likely experienced the exoticism of a culture. The thing is, you most likely took it in as a compliment. The truth to the matter is, when one is “exotifying” a culture, they are actually placing a barrier against two races. Living in 21st century America, this is something that should not be accepted, and as time goes on, we are visibly experiencing the riots caused by such actions.

For example, I recently read on another blog of how a woman was called “exotic” because of her skin tone and hair. After she was asked where she was from, the “compliment” was taken a step further; calling “her people” exotic and mystifying as well.

Read this here: http://atriptothemorg.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/post-the-sixty-ninth/

This type of misconception, exoticism, and racism can be accounted for in today’s media as well. For example, last year, when Selena Gomez’s Come & Get It music video came out, a lot of controversy was sparked. Although it was not her intent, she sexualized an important concept of Indian culture; the third eye. For Hindu’s this is an extremely religious concept, leading back to Lord Shiva and his “power”.

^That’s a modern kimono styled cardigan.

Another example of this is the up and coming fashion of Kimonos. Although now H&M, Forever 21 and almost any major department store carries a wide variety of them, it is belittling to the Japanese culture and the ceremonies and events they are made for. A black kimono (mofuku), was once known to be for funerals as a sign of respect towards the diseased. Now, you see people wearing the “stylish” versions of them as everyday wear.

 

^That’s an actual kimono.

Whilst it is not anyone’s “fault” that along with the assimilation of cultures come a mixing (sometimes an offensive type) of two cultures, it is important to keep in mind the background behind the clothing we wear, the music we listen to, and the words we speak.

Easter Around the World

Now that we’ve said goodbye to the harsh winter and welcomed Spring with open arms, we can start all the Easter decorations, egg hunts, and filling our Easter egg baskets. Easter is a holiday celebrated by Christians commemorating the resurrection of Jesus. The 40 days leading up to Easter is known as Lent- during which observers give up something they enjoy as a symbol of their religious devotion. Americans celebrate Easter both for spiritual reasons and for the fun. Games are planned for the children such as the Easter egg roll or the egg hunt. The Easter bunny is a symbol for this holiday first brought by the settlers of German descent. Later on, Americans accepted the traditions as a main part of their Easter celebrations.

America is not the only country that celebrates Easter in a traditional way. Bermudians celebrate   Good Friday- two days before Easter- by making and flying home-made kites, and eating hot cross buns. In Norway, there is a tradition known as “Easter-Crime”. During Easter, people around Norway, read crime books or watch crime based television shows. No holiday tradition is complete in Norway without a big family meal. The meal table is covered with daffodils and other decorations. Another big Easter tradition for Norwegians is mountain trip and skiing. Norwegians head up to the mountains to celebrate this holiday while skiing, eating oranges and Kvikk Lunsj- a chocolate bar consisting of crunchy wafer and milk chocolate.

 

In Greece, the “pot throwing” ceremony takes place on the morning of Holy Saturday. Pots and pans are thrown across everywhere, being smashed on the streets. This unique custom is said to be derived from the Venetians. Some say that this custom welcomes Spring, and shows meaning for the new crops that are to be planted in the new pots. In France, on Easter Monday, a big omelet is served not the main square of the town. More than 4,500 eggs are used and can be fed up to 1,000 people.

 

While it is fascinating to see all these different cultures and customs, what’s important for any holiday is to be surrounded by family and friends.

 

 


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