Having a couple of days off and building up the adventures to the awesome fireworks on the 4th has been amazing. Spending my weekend in Duluth, MN, I saw and realized a lot of things. People everywhere were in a very good mood and everyone was just so happy. This feeling that I was getting reminded me of how proud I am to be an American. There have been many things happening that has been hurting how I felt, about who I am and as an American. Being Asian American, a person of color, there were times when I felt like I did not belong, even though I was born in this country. I have many hopes for my country because I know it’s an amazing place. Times are hard but on the 4th of July, looking around and enjoying everyones’ smile and laughter, it made me feel at peace and very thankful.
Happy and thankful, I remember why people love this place. The freedom and opportunities we can get here, it gives people hope. Despite all that has been happening, everyone still got together to celebrate Independence Day in America. The multiple fairs across the country just shows how much we all do love this place.
The article, Why Asian-American Seniors Have High Rates Of Depression But Rarely Seek Help,” written by Kimberly Yam has great detail showing culture differences and how it affects the daily lives of many. I loved how this article was able to snap a reminder into my head about my parents and grandparents. I will be restating some of the things from the article and giving my opinion on the topic.
In the Asian-American community, health is one of the biggest topics that become touchy to talk about, especially with the seniors. Overall health problems are not usually brought up unless one is really needing help; but with mental health many seniors do not seek help for it at all. According to the American Psychological Association, “Asian Americans are almost three times less likely than their white counterparts to seek mental health services.” One of the main factors to this is fear of being shameful. With the Asian culture, pride is very important and that is why some things may not be said or done in order to not “embarrass” the family.
We have to remember that most of our elders have experienced trauma from many of the world and life tragedies that has happened. Adapting to a new place and experiencing the feeling of being separated because of culture and language can have a huge influence on how one may feel. Our seniors/elders in the Asian community may hide their feelings of sadness and loneliness in order to avoid burdening the family. With this, the younger generation of sons, daughters, relatives…etc., should reach out when they feel that there may be some kind of loneliness.
When reading this article, I started thinking about my grandfather. When he was still on this beautiful planet, I met him once when he came to visit my family from Laos. He was one of the sweetest people I have ever met. He smiled a lot and didn’t talk about things much. When we went for walks, he seemed so peaceful. He always stared at the sky and just looked and admired the landscape. Thinking back now, I wish I spent more time showing him many beautiful things in life. I also wish I talked to him more about his past, present, wishes, happiness, and sorrows. Just thinking about how he was when he had visit made me realize that he had a lot of sadness and pain still in him. This realization definitely made think more about checking on my loved ones.
Loneliness and depression can happen to anyone. It may be harder for some to express the fact that they have these feelings. In the Asian culture, admitting that you need help isn’t really a thing. Elders may probably address mental health issues in different ways, like headaches, sleepless nights, pain in the stomach…etc. So it is important for loved ones to ask and spend the time to really try and help.
I am Asian American and when I was reading this article, the descriptions and beliefs about the Asian American culture definitely fit mine. My thoughts and culture may not fit every persons’ but overall, being able to fit and connect to these descriptions and beliefs made me more aware of possible emotions and thoughts my elders may be having. Mental illness is not thought about a lot at all in the Asian community. I hope that my brief article will inspire you to just really look after your loved ones also and remember to be aware of possible symptoms of depression or loneliness.
“Yayoiis the lunar calendar name for March meaning “new life,” symbolizing the coming of spring. The only national holiday this month isShunbun no hi, or Vernal Equinox Day, on March 20th or 21st. This is the official mark of the spring season as well as the unofficial start of thesakuracherry blossom season in much of Japan.
Girls’ Day, or Hina Matsuri, falls on March 3rd and is one of the most popular celebrations this month. In mid-February, it is customary for families with young daughters to set up doll displays of the imperial court. Families enjoy tasty delights likechirashisushi and strawberrydaifukuwhile offering prayers for good health, fortune, and happiness for young girls.” – Credit to original owner.
Other events going on in Japan:
March represents the beginning of spring and blooming of cherry blossoms. Cherry blossom viewing is a popular activity with tourists and the Japanese people. And because it only occurs for a short period of time, many people may gather together to view cherry blossoms at parks at once.
March 14 is White Day and this holiday is when men gives a gift back to the women they received gifts from (on Valentine’s Day). It is also a popular holiday for sales events in major department stores.
“A festival to welcome Spring to Nara with a wide range of rituals that take place over 14 days (March 1 – March 14). The main events involve burning giant torches surprisingly close to a 1200 year old wooden building at Todaiji Temple to rain sacred sparks on a crowd standing below.” – http://www.japan-talk.com/jt/new/japan-in-march
There are many countries that the U.S. don’t share holidays with and it’s nice to know what we miss out on some of the great things people celebrate from all over the world. Here’s a list of cultural groups that have their own unique holidays.
1. Thailand – Songkran
One of the many celebrations of Songkran involves people splashing each other with water in the hot weather. “Part of the ritual was the cleaning of images of Buddha. Using the ‘blessed’ water that cleaned the images to soak other people is seen as a way of paying respect and bring good fortune.” – http://www.officeholidays.com/
2. Malaysia – Malaysia Day
The holiday day title is literally what the holiday stands for. The people of Malaysia celebrate the day “16 September 1963, when the former British colony of Singapore and the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, joined to create the Federation of Malaysia” – http://www.officeholidays.com/. It’s for everyone to take pride of Malaysia and its historical events of the people and country gaining independence.
3. Japan (including other Asian countries) – Childerns’ Day
Yes, there is a national holiday to celebrate children with gifts, food, blessings, and wishes. Also, it is a time when parents pray for the best in health and success for their children.
4. Korea – Hanguel Day
In celebration of the development of Korean alphabets after the colonial rule of Japan. “King Sejong the Great who was the fourth monarch of the Joseon Dynasty, devised and proclaimed the Korean alphabet in the 15th century” – http://www.officeholidays.com/. Korea did not develop their own alphabets as early as other cultural groups due to strong influence of the Chinese and Japanese characters.
5. Indonesia (including other Asian countries) – Waisak Day
A national holiday made in name of Buddha’s birthday, death, and enlightenment. A ‘holy day’ for Buddhists monks and Buddhism believers that celebrates the life of Buddha. The holiday allows people to pray, receive or/give blessings, cleanse one soul and mind, make offerings, and display beautiful lights.
Whenever the end of the year is nearing, there are many traditions that the Hmong people have to do to welcome the new year. Instead of giving summaries to the many customs of the Hmong New Year, here some are links to outside resources that have great in-depth information about it:
Hmong New Year is first celebrated in the home then with the (last name) clan to the outside community. The Hmong welcome the new year by honoring their ancestors to receive their blessings from them, families, friends, and others for health, good luck, wealth, and a new beginning. It involves community gathering from young to elderly to feast, celebrate, and engage in fun activities.