My parents came to Canada from Pakistan back in the 80’s, about a year after the birth of my older brother. A couple of years later, I was born and then over a span of 10 years our family grew to include my five younger sisters. We moved many houses within Edmonton Alberta , but we always created a home filled with good memories everywhere we lived within the city.
Our family adjusted quite well into Western society. For instance, both of my parents learned English quite quickly. My mom went to school to help her learn the language faster, which in turn helped her in learning how to drive and interact with other Canadians; but, my parents also made sure that we kept our culture throughout our childhood. As a parent myself, I appreciate the efforts my parent put into having us learning about our Pakistani heritage and I only hope that I can instill the same cultural values my parents taught my siblings and I.
There are many ways to maintain culture within your family, and below I’m sharing the ways my parents were able to keep the Pakistani culture live within our home.
5 Ways to Maintain Culture Within Your Family
Language – Speak your cultural language at home
My mom always spoke to us in her language, which is Pothohari . I have to admit that I responded back to my mom in English, but that was only because I knew she understood what I was saying.
With that said, I really feel like my language skills improved by living with certain relatives, who didn’t know the English language, throughout my childhood. For instance, my paternal grandma lived with us for many years, followed by my maternal grandpa living with us. We also had a few aunties stay with us- all of these relatives did not speak English so I had no choice but to communicate in Pothohari with them.
Food – Familiarize your children with traditional food
We ate Pakistani food almost daily! My mom was often busy raising seven children, so she didn’t have time to cook more than one meal for us. Pakistani meals were what my mom knew best and were easy and fast for her to cook.
Family – Surround yourselves with elders
I remember listening to my grandparents and elderly aunts tell me about life back in Pakistan that always left me smiling. Hearing personal stories from back home made me feel proud of my culture!
Clothing – Wear traditional clothing
One of our family traditions growing up was changing into Pakistani clothing when we arrived home from school or anywhere else. I grew up to love traditional clothing, as I found it comfortable to wear shalwar and kameez as a child, and still do! Of course, you don’t have to wear your traditional clothing all the time, but it’s nice to wear them on special occasions and holidays.
Trips back home – Visit your country
I still remember going to Pakistan as a child. Those were some magical memories that I will forever hold in my heart! Initially, I have to admit, it was a bit of a cultural shock, but in the end I had experienced so much and learned so much. It was a trip of a lifetime!
I hope these tips to maintain culture within your family were beneficial and helpful. remember, it’s never too late to introduce your children to their roots!