My Bengali-American Heritage

 My personal heritage has a lot to do with my culture.  When I refer to culture I refer to my understanding of my traditions and way of life that is derived from my country. Living in the U.S. has always been something foreign to me, or at least the way Americans are stereotyped to be.  I came to the U.S at the age of five and go back to visit my family back in Bangladesh about every four years.  Every time I go back I feel as though I have never left because living in the villages, cooking out of the ground in mud stoves, living in mud houses, bathing in ponds, and sitting on the floor with the family are things that my immediate family has incorporated into our “American lives”.  Growing up in the U.S. was not really difficult for me, I was able to learn two new languages because of it and I learned of many new cultures that would not have been possible to me, but no matter how many cultures I become aware of or immerse myself in, I feel as though the culture I was born with is what defines to be my personal heritage.  It is the way I am, it is the way my parents are, and it was the way my grandparents were.  My personal heritage differs from my national heritage because although my personal heritage is derived from my country, I feel a longing and pride for the U.S., which I consider to be my national heritage.  I spent my entire life growing up here and although I am always ready to tell people that I am from Bangladesh born there but raised in U.S., the land of opportunities.  My country may have an interesting culture but when it comes to women, the culture somehow impairs us. My national heritage allows me to empower myself and my education, opportunities that my family back home does not get.

 bangladeshi-village-house-in-the-jungle images

I visited a heritage site of the Historic Mosque City of Bagerhat in 2011.  I had gone to visit my family back home in Bangladesh.  We went there to pray for my grandmother’s health because she was very ill.  We spent three days there, praying and learning about our religion.  By the third day that we were there we were noticing an improvement in my grandmother’s health.  She was becoming strong enough to walk again.  While at the mosque I felt a sense of purity and holiness that I have never been able to feel again.  It brought me closer to my culture and my heritage because it was allowing me to get in touch with my religion that affected my heritage and culture immensely.  This site is important to me because it helps me keep faith in my religion because it is something I witnessed with my own eyes.   150px-Shat_Gombuj_Mosque_(ষাট_গম্বুজ_মসজিদ)_002

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9 Responses to My Bengali-American Heritage

  1. apalos17 says:

    Wow! I love how you’re so proud of your origin, never forgetting where you came from. That’s always a good thing, so one day you can tell your kids where their culture is from!

  2. Mbrooks8 says:

    I see that you are really into your personal heritage, but have you seem like you really don’t like to embrace your national heritage. You mention it, but you make it seem like being America isn’t what people think of it as.

  3. hmunoz2 says:

    I really admire how you embrace your culture. Many people who come from different places of the world tend to hide their personal culture because they are either ashamed or embarrassed by it. Its great that you haven’t forgotten about your culture and that you continue practicing some of the traditions. I enjoyed reading your blog.

  4. Pingback: The Doors and Mud-Built Houses of Ushaiger Heritage Village | Stories of The Wandering Feet & Mind

  5. rramirez46 says:

    It was interesting and very informative to read about your heritage. I liked the part where you said “My national heritage allows me to empower myself and my education, opportunities that my family back home does not get.” This was a very powerful statement to read because it can get people thinking of what things we take may take advantage of that many people cannot experience or have.

  6. nlenriquez says:

    The way you write about our past and gradually opening to how it makes it who you are today was really interesting to read. Its refreshing to hear you are close to your roots and traditions; It inspires me to grasp my cultures more. I also like the way you contrasted the way of living in Bangladesh vs in America giving the reader a picture of how life is so different.

  7. mflores53 says:

    I love the fact that your culture really reflects in your person. Now that I have gotten to know you better, I can see that Bangladesh culture is a really big part of your identity.

  8. dvasquez10 says:

    This was amazing! I can highly relate to you because although I was not born in a different country, I feel that I came from Mexico because, I feel strongly attached to my Mexican heritage. My Mexican culture and values are what shapes me and the way I view the world. I enjoyed reading about how your heritage was highly impacted by your cultural background. Awesome post! 🙂

  9. miapatel123 says:

    I found your post to be very interesting and something I can relate too. I, too, was born in another country. I consider the traditions and various practices from there to be part of my heritage as well as what I learned from the United States. I found your post to be wonderful and interesting.

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