18 Ways Arab American Women Preserve Heritage
BY: Nisreen Eadeh/Staff Writer
Women take on many roles throughout their lives as professionals, friends, sisters, daughters, wives, and mothers. In her role as a mother, a woman often finds herself eager to pass on her culture, heritage, and traditions to her children. For centuries, women have been credited as the family members ensuring that heritage identity remains embedded throughout their society at intimate and universal levels.
While modern parents often take on more equal roles in raising children than generations before them, women are still making up for centuries of lost appreciation for their dedication and achievements.
On this International Women’s Day, Arab America is celebrating the mothers who have passed down Arab heritage to their children in many ways, and would like to take this time to encourage all parents to continue these practices so that our rich culture can remain relevant in a diverse, American society.
Here are 18 ways women have been preserving Arab heritage with her children:
1. She teaches them Arabic
2. She places them in Sunday School or Friday Prayer
3. She shows them how to roll grape leaves, boil Arabian coffee, and flip maqloubeh
4. She demonstrates Arab hospitality by greeting everyone with kisses, making tea for guests, and accommodating the wishes of every family member
5. She dances with them to her favorite Arabic songs in the car and at the hafla
6. She takes them to annual Arab festivals, picnics, and long days at the beach with the cousins
7. She feeds them cucumbers and dates instead of Cheetos and Gushers
8. She teaches them to be generous and loving to everyone who walks through the door
9. She heals their illnesses and injuries with centuries-old remedies like drinking maramia for sore throats, rubbing arak on toothaches, and using olive oil for everything else
10. She tells them stories of her homeland and ancestors so that their family’s history may forever live in their hearts and minds
11. She buys them a drum, a kuffiyah, a map of the homeland, and a coffee set to make sure they know the culture’s most tangible traditions
12. She drives them to teta and jiddo’s house every weekend to eat dinner with them and learn new recipes
13. She makes sure they stand up to bullies and defend their heritage in the face of anti-Arab hate
14. She checks their grades to make sure they are on the path to success
15. She watches Arabic language television with them and paraphrases the plot
16. She posts videos of dabke troupes, Arabic singers, and funny GIFs to their social media walls
17. She insists that they identify relatives in pictures and in person so they remember their names
18. She saves her hard-earned money to take them on a trip across the ocean to their homeland so they can learn more about their heritage and language from the original source