The White Punjabi Bride
Embracing Your Partners Culture When Living In Your Home Country
Updated: May 14, 2020
When living in another country it is customary to adapt to their way of life given you are immersed within their culture. Particularly a country such as India with such a historic culture which means there are endless customs and traditions that are still very much a part of their everyday lifestyle. However for those who have embraced the culture as part of their lifestyle through marriage, what happens when you are living in your home country. How do you embrace your partner's culture when living in your home country?
What once overtook my daily lifestyle with the many customs, traditions and beliefs, now have fallen to the way side since living in my home country. Especially since we are now living a modern lifestyle within a young culture that lacks in the years and years of history. Embracing both of our cultures in our daily lives is just one of the many challenges we face in a cross cultural marriage. Which is even more challenging for those who are also unfortunate to be in a long distance relationship.
When I lived in India I went to such lengths to ensure that my heritage wasn't lost amongst the strong beliefs of the Indian customs and traditions. Now that I have returned to my home country I believe that the same should apply with his culture. Without being immersed in the Indian culture, incorporating customs and traditions is difficult, although that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the culture. As we are now a bicultural family both of our cultures form a part of our identity. Therefore I would like to include more of his culture into our lifestyle, particularly since my husband has now gained his residency and we have just moved into our own home.
Although Australia is a melting pot of different ethnicities, unfortunately not all of society are accepting of different cultures. This is especially so for those who have preconceived notions about the Indian culture. Or those who are patriotic and believe that embracing another culture means that we lose our own identity in the process. Whatever the reason, society can make it difficult to live a bicultural lifestyle. Especially if it happens to be your own family who are not accepting of your partners culture. Though what I love about being Australian is that we are many different ethnicities that make us one. As our anthem goes, 'We are one, but we are many'. Which has been forgotten with all the violence and terrorism that is now all too common making more people less accepting of foreign cultures.
So how do I incorporate my partner's culture into our daily life? Since I absolutely love Indian Fashion I decided to invest in some traditional attire. When I was pregnant I dressed up in traditional attire and had a mini photo shoot so that I could share these photos with my in laws. Though I also dress in traditional attire for celebrations such as Diwali or Holi. With Diwali coming up soon in early November we are planning on hosting a small party to celebrate. Although this is a Hindu festival it is a good excuse to decorate the house with Indian decor, cook traditional meals and dress up in traditional attire.
Celebrating such festivities is a great way to embrace your partner's culture when living in your home country. It also allows you to share the history of the festival/celebration with your children in a fun and entertaining manner. Unfortunately our son is a little too young to understand just yet. However you don't need to only celebrate in your home, you can also join the Indian community at your local gurudawa. Since we aren't particularly religious this is something that we don't do hence why we are so focused on incorporating the culture into our daily lifestyles at home. Some communities even host festivals open to everyone to celebrate more well known traditions such as Holi.
Whilst this may not form a part of Indian culture, I have been feeling nostalgic for India and have been watching what I call Hollywood Bollywood movies. Such as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Lion, Victoria & Abdul, The Hundred Foot Journey, The Jungle Book, Life of Pi and UnIndian. They are a great depiction of their culture and easy to get a hold of to watch with the family. It is also a great way to share the culture with your friends and family in a way they can relate without the need for subtitles and special commentary. When it comes to Bollywood films I tend to only watch those with my husband given I need a commentator to explain what is happening.
Brightening up your home decor with bright and colourful ethnic pieces really brings a touch of India into your home. You can achieve this by creating unique arts and crafts such as paintings or embroidery and an array of DIY inspired crafts. Which is a new category I will be introducing to my blog sometime this year for those who are wanting to add a touch of India to their home and enjoy being creative.
In our home I have Indian Bride paintings hanging on the walls and I also have an Indian inspired colour palette. Which includes teal and magenta. Though you can add a touch of India just by displaying your souvenirs from your travels abroad to India. Cushions and throws are another super simple way of incorporating a touch of India into your home decor. It is so easy to add a few ethnic inspired pieces into your home decor to add a touch of India.
Cooking traditional meals is another easy way of incorporating Indian into your lifestyle. I have tried recreating meals my mother in law cooked for me in India, though just with a lot less chilli! I continue to practise the art of roti making, paying attention to making a light, soft and round roti, which takes a lot of experience. Even my husband makes better roti than I do. Although I enjoy cooking traditional meals I still need a lot more practise. Once my son is older this is something that I can involve him in so that he too may learn traditional meals from a part of his heritage.
These are but a few ways how I incorporate my partner's culture into our daily lifestyle. There are many many more ways to embrace your partners culture. Though it can be easy to let your partner's culture fall to the way side if you don't actively try to incorporate it into your daily lifestyle. Especially for those who are currently in a long distance relationship or those who have a busy lifestyle.
However it should be an important part of your daily routine, particularly for those with children. My husband and I sincerely hope that we can impart the best parts of both of our cultures onto our son. That is what is so great about being in a bicultural marriage, being able to choose the best parts and leave behind the worst parts.
How do you embrace your partner's culture when living in your home country?
Do you also struggle finding the time to include traditions from your partner's culture?
What is your biggest challenge?
Be sure to leave your comments below as I'd love to hear how you incorporate your partner's culture.
Blending Cultures As A Bicultural Family