January 19, 2019
Why is understanding culture important?
If you take away all the national pride, political agendas, and religious (not spiritual) dogmas, you have the core of who we are. Not that these ideals are wrong when properly understood and implemented, but they can promote so much hate and antagonism by extremists that they really don’t define who we are as individuals or as a community.
Think of all the wars started on the premise of each of those three ideologies.
Learning about cultural diversity can be such a wonderful adventure. The common experiences that people share influence their perception of the world and consequently how they behave with each other and those outside their community.
Learn about other cultures
Since we live in a world without borders, maybe you can go outside your comfort zones by learning about different cultures!
I write about Bulgarian mythology, folklore and cuisine, so I can offer a few ideas for the summer.
Dine at an ethnic restaurant
I’m sure your first idea is to dine at an ethnic restaurant and this is perfectly fine, we all love food. This is your chance to expand your palate! See if there are any ethnic restaurants nearby that you’ve never been to. If you can’t find a Bulgarian restaurant, you can prepare your own ethnic Bulgarian meal.
My favorite is called banitsa, but since it’s summer, I think you need to try my other favorite for the summer: Zucchini with yogurt-dill sauce
Also yogurt is a known Bulgarian specialty, healthy and tasty.
Visit Maria’s Kitchen to explore more recipes and learn about different Bulgarian and Mediterranean dishes; try the taste of Bulgaria and the Balkans. To discover more recipes, you can get a copy of my book: Mediterranean and Bulgarian Cuisine: 12 Easy Traditional Favorites.
Experience ethnic music and dance
There are plenty of ways to learn more about music in other countries. Here are some suggestions:
- Sign up for a dance class to learn flamenco (Spain), polka (Scandinavia), or the jig (Scotland or Ireland)
- Attend a concert or music festival that showcases music from different parts of the world
- Check out CDs of ethnic music at the library
Bulgarian Music and dance
Bulgarian folk music and dance are quite different from what Americans are used to. Dances are performed by men and women in lines or circles (horo).
“Na Megdana” by Nelly Tonchev-Nelinda (Nelinda.com)
I’m sure you’ve heard about some in the movie 300 (Message for the Queen) and other Hollywood movies.
“Go down, go down, bright sunshine
Go down, hide your light
Mourn for your leafs, you forest”
To learn more check my article on Bulgarian Music and Dance.
In my book Light Love Rituals, you can learn more about the Horo and also when the dance is performed.
Learn about your heritage
Doing a little genealogical research with your family allows you to spend time together and reach out to distant family members. Creating a family record is a pursuit you can work on for a long time, and you never know what you might discover!
Even if your heritage is not Bulgarian, maybe you have a friend who is and you want to learn more. Visit my blog or my author page where you can find different books inspired by the rich Bulgarian traditions and mythology.
You can see all my books and the various retails to purchase them from here: Ronesa’s Books.
My latest book, The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village, is a good summer read to travel to the mystical world in Zmeykovo (Dragon Village) and also learn about different mythological creatures.
Learn about Mythology and Folklore of other cultures while making crafts
Bulgarians celebrate name days, birthdays and they observe and practice many more rituals and traditions. In my Baba Treasure Chest series, I’ve described some of them.
My favorite tradition is making a Martenitsa, the white and red amulet of friendship. In the short story The Miracle Stork, I have activities and also steps on how to make your own.
If you’re traveling, some of my book are available on Audible, a perfect way to entertain the entire family until you get to your final destination. You can have an awesome trip while learning about another culture.
Coloring Books for the entire family
Coloring can reduce stress and be fun for the whole family! When you’re coloring, you’re not checking your smart phone, flipping channels or tweeting. In addition, my coloring books (Mermaids Around the World and More Mermaids Around the World) can help you learn more than 50 different mermaid legends.
Do you know any other ways to learn about different cultures?