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Diana Galstian
Professor Corri Ditch
English 113b
5 May 2014
Never Forget Your Cultural Tradition
What is a tradition? A tradition is the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation
to generation. However, we all have our own definition of what a tradition is. I believe a tradition
is something you do occasionally with your family and is passed down to you and your kids. We
all come from different cultures and have different kinds of traditions. I am Armenian and in my
culture we have many traditions. I am not only happy because of my culture but also because of
my traditions; they represent who I am and where I come from. Some of the traditions that I have
and will share with my kids include reading, writing, and traditional dances; for the girls/women
not leaving the house until she is married is another tradition practiced. The way I see these
cultural traditions is that it represents me and shows who I really am.
I feel like some of the traditions Armenians have are not cherished as much as they
should be. People might not want to identify themselves as Armenian because of all the negative
stereotypes, which can be shameful; one of these stereotypes include how we look. In Armenian
culture, it is a tradition for the woman to not leave the house until she is married. If you are 30
years old and not married, you are not allowed to move out and live on your own. You are
stereotyped by other Armenians if you move out and live out on your own without being married
first; you will be looked down on. Some may find it controversial that men do not have the same
traditions as women. Although the men might have more freedom then the women, I find it okay
that men have more freedom than women. People think that when you move to America, you
will not follow the traditions you had but that is not true. I think that we should all follow these
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tradition. Why would you want to move out and live on your own when you have a family that
loves and cares for you, you are practically living for free, and you do not need to worry about
paying any other expenses? If you want to move out and start paying rent why not just pay rent
to your parents. If you think about it the money will be used for you; they will buy food, water,
etc.
I recently read an article where a girl was looked down on from her mothers side of the
family. In the article My Hips, My Caderas by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, is about how she is
looked down because she has big hips, is catcalled and woof-woofed like slaps while walking
down the street. She went on a diet with her friend so she can lose her hips so some boys like
Tom Fairfield will like her. It is wrong that Rodriguez thinks that she has to lose her hips
(something that represents who she is) just so boys will like her. If a boy likes you he should like
you for who you are thin or thick. She says in her article So when I want to be loved for my
body, I am a Latina. But most Latino men will not love my mind as they do my body, because I
am an Americanized professional.When I want to be loved for my mind, I flock to liberal
intellectuals, usually whites. They listen to my writings and nodand then suggest I use skim
milk instead of milk (75). Your family should be with you and teaching you to embrace your
culture/tradition. It is in your culture/tradition to have big hips but you should never feel
ashamed of it you should love it and be happy. The things you do or have, such as hips represent
who you are.
Typically, living in America the most common language that you are given the option to
learn in high school is Spanish. Spanish is very common language that is taught in schools
because it is one of the most languages spoken in America. I do not think that is right. Spanish is
just one of the few languages that is spoken in America. They should offer other languages like
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Armenian. Growing up in Montebello and from my experiences Spanish was one of the most
common languages spoken. But, when I moved up to Northridge or even when I went to visit
Glendale, Burbank, Van Nuys, and even North Hollywood from my experience one of the most
common languages that I came across was Armenian. What should people do if they were
taught/given the only language to learn Spanish and not Armenian and are in those cities? How
are they supposed to communicate? I think people should have the option to learn Armenian
instead of Spanish. In a recent article that I read it said how the Armenian language was fading.
Possibly one of the reasons that it is fading is because it is not being offered in highschools.
Some may think that just because they are in America they do not need to know how to read,
write or even talk in Armenian. I used to think like that too at one point but after visiting other
cities or places I realized that you need to know how to talk, write, and read.
In a recent article HyeEtch-Arts & Culture- Music&Dance I read that Children
therefore have two important reasons to learn English rather than Armenian: they see English as
their key to the worlds of both Anglo-America and Armenian America, and on the other hand
they see Armenian as a relic that will mark them socially as out-of-date outsiders (Vaux, 3).
This is ridiculous why one should care what other people think of you, so what if people will
think of you as out-of-date outsiders, you should not let those words define who you are. You
are your own person and should choose what you want to do and not listen to what others might
think of you. While reading Vauxs article he said what some Armenian parents worry about,
The second concern that young Armenians have with learning the Armenian language is that it
will prevent them from fitting in with their peers. Children want to be as normal as possible,
and language plays a central role in establishing normalcy. You have your own thoughts,
opinions and much more, you should not others define normal and do as they say.
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In my Armenian culture people feel special through the dances. The Armenians thought
about showing their identity/ethnicity through their dances and music. In a recent article that I
read Armenian Dance by Laura Shannon she defines Armenian Dances in different categories.
She said Generally, I place Armenian dances into four categories: dances from Eastern
Caucasian Armenia, from Western Anatolian Armenia, from Greater Armenia, and diaspora
dances. These categories may overlap somewhat, but they give a broad picture of the landscape
of Armenian dance as I understand it. (Shannon, 6). She puts the Armenian dances in great
categories. Each category dance has a symbolic meaning to the people that dance it. There are
people who feel embarrassed of the dance and there are some that do not. Why should one feel
embarrassed of their cultural traditional dances? It expresses who you are. You should know how
to dance and have your kids learn it too. You show your kids that you know and is happy of
where you come from. What is the point of living if you are going to be ashamed of who you
are? One of the most common dances that are remembered still and should still be is the Round
or group dances. In a recent article Armenian Songs and Dances it describes to us how the
round or group dances are danced. They are danced in a circle, and have a leader, usually a
man. This leader is easily distinguished because if the handkerchief that is carried in his right
hand. The grouping along the line is boy, girl, boy, girl; they join hands to complete the circle
The entire circle moves one or two steps to the right and repeats the pattern. When it is done in at
great speed, and skillfully, it is thrilling to watch (Cherdit, 11). This dance is typically danced at
weddings, before the father daughter dance. It is also danced on the Armenian Genocide, when
people are recognizing the massacre that happened in 1915 with the Turks and the Armenians. It
is way of expressing the Armenian culture and through everything that happened we still
remember it and embrace it.
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We are not born into a world without a certain culture or tradition. We are born with a
certain culture and we are given traditions that define who we truly are. Although one may not
like it and feel like they are looking down upon but you should not let that get to you. Who cares
what others think of you. In a recent article that I read Culture and Communication by
Anastacia Kurylo talks about symbol and Cultural Construction. She said Symbol allow culture
to be constructed. By communicating some symbols rather than any other potential symbols a
person could communicate, people construct cultural identity. Culture is not a preexisting
entitya cultural construction created through the consistent and repetitive communication of
symbols by people about a group identity. In other words culture can be created through
symbols.(Kurylo, 5). Cultural construction is the believe that human behaviors and ideas are
best explained as a result of culturally- shaped learning. Your cultural tradition is not the only
thing that defines who you are and your actions say a lot about you. So even if you do not follow
your Armenian traditions it does not hide the fact that you are still an Armenian. One should not
feel ashamed or embarrassed of your cultural traditions because they say a lot about you. No one
can define you better than your traditions.
Your cultural traditions have a lot to say about who you are. You know you need
to learn how to speak, read, and write in Armenian, know to traditionally dance, and also not
leave the house until you are married. There is nothing wrong with living in your house until you
are married, learning your traditional dance or even speaking and writing in Armenian. People
might say well you do not need to know Armenian in America but they are wrong, you need to
know it to be able to communicate with other people. In America we are stereotyped into think
that if a woman stays home until she is 30 than something is wrong with her or if a guys lives at
home with his parents than he is considered a mommas boy, but that is all wrong. Those things
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do not define who they really are. They probably do not see the point in moving out if they have
everything at home.
Armenians have many cultural traditions that have to be heard and remembered. It should
never be forgotten. Families should be teaching their kids about our cultural traditions. We
should not let our Armenian heritage fade away so easily. If we were to let our traditions fade we
would not be us anymore and we would not have any point in living anymore. You should not be
ashamed of who you are and where you come from. Love where you come from and love your
cultural traditions.












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Works Cited
Cherdit Bor Donn. Armenian Folk Songs and Dances in the Fresno and Los Angeles Areas
Western States Folklore Society. Vol. 18, No. 1 (Jan., 1959), pp. 1-12.
http://www.jstor.org/stable/1496887
Kurylo, Anastasia. Culture and Communication Marymount Manhattan College. Print
Rodriguez-Valdes, Alisa.My hips, My CaderasHow to read reflections. Print
Shannon, Laura. "HyeEtch - Arts & Culture - Music & Dance P3." HyeEtch - Arts & Culture -
Music & Dance P3. Arts and Culture, 30 Aug. 1999. Web. 29 Mar. 2014.
The Culture. Armenian Information.2003-2014.