Have you ever watched the show, My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding? I’m home from work right now. My daughter doesn’t feel well and didn’t go to school, so I’ve been watching it all day. Our streaming service keeps challenging me by asking, “Are you still watching?”
The show is over-the-top dramatic making me wonder if that’s really how American Gypsies live. I am not familiar with their culture, but if you are, I would love to hear from you. What is it like? I’m so curious.
One thing that I think is very interesting about the show is the lengths the American Gypsies go to to preserve their centuries-old traditions. I am just so fascinated by it.
This makes me think about my own family and culture. My family has been here long enough to be very assimilated into American culture, but that wasn’t always the case for older generations.
Like many Americans, I’m a bit of a mutt – mostly German with some Czech and Dutch thrown in. My husband is also mostly German with a little bit of English and Scottish. I think that makes my daughter a surprising amount of German for a family that has been here for so long.
My grandma was a first-generation American. Her parents had immigrated from Czechoslovakia after the First World War. I don’t know all the details because it was so long ago, but I know assimilating into American culture at that particular time must have been very difficult. Old traditions were even a little embarrassing for my grandma as a child.
Fast forward to my childhood, I grew up in a rural area where most people were of German heritage. Some of the older generation still spoke a little German. There were even a few church services in German.
Polka was popular where I grew up. Our local radio station played polka and at an annual Summerfest, polka music rang out late into the night. We (the younger generation) all made fun of it of course, but now I really regret that.
My grandma and grandpa were an adorable couple and they were so cute and sweet to each other when they danced to polka music together.
However, I feel those traditions died along with all of our grandparents. I never learned to polka, but now I kinda wish I did.
Would it be too late to teach my daughter how to polka when I never learned myself?
I would love to hear about your family. Have your traditions fizzled out or are they still alive and well?