We do not eat Paneer on Christmas or Turkey on Diwali: Things we do not Mix

We are a truly fusion family. Everyday my husband and I combine our Indian and American cultures and created a masala life together. There are a couple times in the year where we focus especially on one side of the culture.

Christmas is my holiday and Diwali is his.

On Christmas we celebrate all the traditions of my culture, the food, music, stories, decorations. There have been times in the past when my husband has suggested that I make an Indian dish like Paneer or Gulab Jamun for the Christmas season. My answer is always no to this. We do not eat Turkey on Diwali and we do not eat Paneer on Christmas. I know this sounds rigid and alittle ridicules but it works for us.

These are just two holidays where I do not want to “mix” traditions. I want the traditions of these two holidays to be completely intact for our daughter. I want her to love and fully appreciate both cultures independently as well as mixed. I want her to experience Christmas as I did with a Christmas tree, stockings, Christmas stories, lots of Christmas music. I want her to taste the holiday foods like turkey with all the fixings, sugar cookies, yule log, and so much more. I also want her to experience Diwali as my husband did as a kid at the Gurdwara, with all the candles and lights, fireworks, and decorations. The wonderful Indian sweets like Rasmalai and Gulab Jamun and foods like Butter Panner!

We keep Diwali completely Indian and Christmas western. 

The Christmas Season is upon us now, so you will see a flood of recipes and articles on my favorite Holiday

To other Masala couples,  Do you mix traditions on your respective holidays or do you keep them intact?

Please share your holiday traditions I would love to hear them all.

If you are interested in reading how other Masala Couples celebrate their holidays, there are some links below to some wonderful articles.

My Christmas meaning, by Home Cyn Home ( a Swiss expat living in India)

Christmas in My Intercultural Family, by American Punjaban PI

11 thoughts on “We do not eat Paneer on Christmas or Turkey on Diwali: Things we do not Mix

  1. We have our own family traditions based on what we like. However, what we do in a given year depends on who we are celebrating with. Christmas with the Caucasian side = no paneer; Christmas with Indian side = paneer, puliyogare etc. We do take our child to Mass each Christmas though. It is our family tradition and she likes it a lot.

    • Even when Indians come to my place I do traditional Christmas food just if my family comes for Diwali I do indian food lol. I love sharing these cultures with people who not have experienced it before. Christmas mass is beautiful thats wonderful that you share that with your kids.

  2. We struggle with this because of the financial difference between Eid and Christmas… my family goes way over board and the tree is full of whatever we could find. Eid is not as grand and since we really only have us to celebrate with, it is not really what I want it to be for us yet… we are only 4 years into mixing totally different holidays. This year I think my husband finally “got it” when I told him that I scaled back and bought everything on discount, over the last few months and did planning. I have about 1/3rd what I have in the past. We talked about how I support his traditions even though I am not Muslim. I cover my head and go to the prayers with him and our children, despite that I stand out as an outsider, I do it for him and our family. I make sure we have all the ingredients for the dessert we eat after prayers and time to call his family. Holidays are getting better but I agree with you, they need to be separate and truly celebrate both cultures.

    • I really admire your dedication and support toward your husbands culture while still maintaining you own. I feel it is that balance that is the most challenge with Masala families like ours. How to combine and share our traditions and beliefs so that one does not over shadow the other. We have the same problem as you. We do not have indian Family in the united States so honestly Christmas is alot bigger celebration then Diwali. All I can do is try to make the holidays as special as possible.

  3. I’m like you, holidays are sacred enough that we don’t mix anything up during that time. There is nothing continental for Diwali, nothing Indian for Christmas. The reason festivals mean so much to many people is because of these deep rooted tradition and food stuff from childhood.bone should not mess with this.

    • Exactly! Without those traditions the holiday just does not feel the same. I remember I once spent a christmas on vacation. No tree, no holiday dinner, we went out, no left overs. It was the worse christmas ever. For our intercutural mixes to be sucesssful we must hold on to what is important about own cultures other wise their is resentment in the end

  4. Such a succinct way to put it. Some things can be blended, like birthday parties and education… others shall not intermingle 🙂

    Living in India I try to bring a few American/Finnish things to life here so my kids see they have a rich and diverse background.

    • Very true, birthdays are totally great being intermingled! but the cultural holidays they must remain true to their heritage otherwise the meaning and traditions are lost, and that is very sad

  5. We don’t celebrate many holidays but just like you and your hubby don’t mix up your holidays, we don’t mix ours up either. My Thanksgiving and Christmas are American. I also don’t eat meat during his Hindu celebrations or request American foods on Diwali, etc. I linked to your post in my blog. 🙂

  6. I read your article it is awesome! I think part of the beauty of an inter cutural relationship is the fact that we get to all share our traditions. We see the beauty of our own culture and learn the beauty of another culture as well.

  7. Pingback: My Christmas in India: Blended American traditions, found - Attached Moms : Attached Moms

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