Tuesday, July 17, 2007

My Thoughts on Korean Holidays

Everyone is always asking me if I celebrate the Korean holidays. When I go to Korean adoption gatherings, it’s always one of the first questions other parents ask me. I always feel a little awkward when I answer, because I generally feel the disapproval radiating from them as they walk away.

I generally don’t. No one is to blame for this phenomenon. My parents would have helped me do whatever I needed to do, but I really don’t feel comfortable celebrating Korean holidays. I like to study Korean holidays and learn what they are all about, but I don’t celebrate them. Some tell me that if my parents had done a better job at educating me when I was younger, I wouldn’t feel this way…but, I’m afraid that I’m going to disagree.

I have always believed that I am lucky. I was raised with a wealth of culture…American, Irish, German, Korean, a little bit of Scottish thrown in…and a healthy respect for all cultures. It’s been my longstanding belief that I am lucky because I don’t have to choose one culture. I don’t think that it’s necessary to choose one culture over another. Over the years, I believe that I have chosen a culture that is uniquely my own.

It is my respect for culture and the Korean culture that keeps me from celebrating Korean holidays on a regular basis and, when I do, I am very careful about how I present myself. I am who I am and I can’t change that…nor do I want to. For me, it seems disrespectful for me to celebrate a holiday that I don’t truly feel a connection to…it’s like I’m playing at being something that I’m not and that’s not what those holidays are about. For the same reason I would never celebrate Kwanza or Chanukah, I don’t choose to celebrate Korean holidays.

I am aware that there are Korean adoptees that have incorporated Korean culture into their own unique culture. They feel a connection and they celebrate with their hearts. I applaud them and I am glad that they have found what they are looking for. I just have to remind myself that I can’t lose my identity because someone else tells me that I’ve gone down the wrong path. Despite what people tell me, I haven’t lost anything. On the contrary, I have gained everything.


Faith, Hope and Love said...

My husband is a Korean Adoptee and we have adopted from Korea as well. For many of the same reasons my husband does not celebrate Korean holidays as well. His parents were also more than willing to share the Korean culture with him while growing up. In fact they did, but when my husband turned 10-11 he decided he didn't want to attend the Korean school any longer so his parents didn't force it upon him. When he was in High School he did some more 'soul searching' and found that he is who he is, a Korean American and he was perfectly happy with that.

I too have been bombarded with comments on my blog because of my husband's take on 'HIS' adoption and how 'HE' feels about it. We don't disagree with what how some other adoptee's feel, it's just not how my husband feels and the way we view adoption. To each there own.

I guess I just wanted to let you know you are not alone in your thoughts and feelings on celebrating Korean holidays.

I just found your blog today, and I have enjoyed reading your posts. Very honest, and purely YOU!


so yung wilson said...

It amazes me how we feel we have the right, nay the responsibility to have an opinion about someone else's life.

And if it helps, along with you and Nancy's husband, I feel the same way.