Wedding Anniversaries and Other Non-Asian Traditions

Like most post World War II Filipinas, my mom grew up as a devout Catholic, praying 10 days for a 9-day Novena prayer with rosary beads made of tiny barrel cacti while walking to church everyday in the snow uphill, both ways.  Never mind the fact that there was (and still is) no snow on the Philippine Islands…that is, unless you count the Ice Age.  But I’m not sure my mom would appreciate the implication.

Nevertheless, fast forward 2.6 million years later to my birth – to an accountant and engineer – both of whom did not sport bell-bottom jeans, over-sized sunglasses or afros. . . much less, own a single ABBA record.

Cool Asian Afro - Courtesy of Coccolily by Naana Tennachie Yankey

Cool Asian Afro – Courtesy of Coccolily by Naana Tennachie Yankey

My father, being Korean, expected dinner on the table at 6 PM when he got home from work.  My mother, being Filipino, provided dinner at 7:21 PM.  He wrinkled clothes.  She ironed them.  She washed dishes.  He mowed the lawn.

We celebrated most American holidays and traditions, and threw in a few of our own: Lunar New Year, Ash Wednesday, Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary day, etc.

There were some holidays and/or traditions, however, which never “took” in our household – wedding anniversaries, for example.

I asked my mom when I was younger why we never celebrated her wedding anniversary, and she explained that there were too many birthdays and holidays around that time, including Valentine’s Day.   Plus, wedding anniversaries weren’t something she and my dad grew up celebrating for their parents.

So, I just chalked it up to us being Asian.  You know, like weddings and rice.  We don’t throw rice at our weddings, we cook it.

Like most people I got sucked into Ancestry.com’s 14-day trial and have been hooked ever since.  I keep hoping I’m related to some ancient Korean emperor and/or Filipina native princess.  (Of course, who ever hopes they’re related to a hobo that got drunk, stowed away on a ship and accidentally ended up in America?)

So far I’ve found out that my paternal great-grandmother was an opera singer.  However, admittedly, I wince when trying to picture Korean opera.

Ancestry.com allows you to approximate dates.  And as long as you can enter in other factual pieces of information, it will display a list of search results that pulls from public records.

Me:  “Mom, sooo…when did you get married?”

Mom: “ I don’t know.  Ay nako, I can’t remember.  It was so long ago.”

Me:  “Around Valentine’s Day and your birthday?”

Mom:  “I told you I can’t remember.”

Me:  “Oh really?  Because…the city of Las Vegas remembers!”

Mom:  . . .

Me:  “That’s right!  According to the state of Nevada, you and dad married six months before I was born!  In August!”

Mom:  . . .

Me:  “What do you have to say to all the years of catechism you made me attend?!”

Mom:  “Ay nako, that was so long ago!  Now that you’re grown up and out of college, when are you going to get married?  I mean, you’re not getting any younger, you know?”

Me:  . . .

Mom:  “You don’t want your eggs to get old and go bad.  Then who’s going to marry you?”

Me:  But…you…I….

Mom:  “I’m glad you finally know. It’s about time you were mature enough to handle it.”

Me:  . . .

Like most people I got sucked into Ancestry.com’s 14-day trial and have been hooked ever since….like some bad Korean soap opera.

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2 thoughts on “Wedding Anniversaries and Other Non-Asian Traditions

  1. Haha. I remember after learning about the birds and the bees in fifth grade, I approached my mom because they got married in December and they had me in July….hmmmm….She told me that I was born a little early….But then she would talk about how fat a baby I was….like a 7lb baby…..hmmmm….In college, I asked her, so how is it that I was born in July and you got married in December?? She answered, “Why are you keep asking?!! chuckle chuckle…” I was not the honeymoon baby that I had assumed….I was a babymoon baby!

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