Saturday, January 9, 2016

I'm a Fourth Generation Canadian!

     Well, you may be wondering "What's he talking about?" Well, you also know that he is going to tell you.

     In my last post I wrote a little about Ukrainian Christmas. What was also on my mind is that customs and traditions are slowly disappearing. 

     Let me use my family as an example. Western Canada opened up and was settled in the early 1900's.  My Great Grandpa, born in 1842 came to Canada  about 1900. He was about 60 and brought all his adult children and their families. Great Grandpa was looking for a place where he could have land, follow his Lutheran faith, speak the German language and not be conscripted into an army as they were pacifists. Western Canada looked like a place that would allow him freedom to follow his way of life. 

     Life was great for the family. They had free land. Life was hard but they happy compared to what they left in the Ukraine.

     Today 110 years later, probably none of great Grandpa's ancestors speak German. Very few of them are Lutherans. Some of his grandsons were in WW II. So most of the traditions and customs have been lost Gradually we mixed with other people. Children went to school and learned English. My Dad's first language was German. We don't eat  the same foods our grandparents made. 

     So when I described Ukrainian Christmas I wanted to tell how traditions have gradually been lost. Most Ukrainians came here after WWI and the Russian Revolution so some of their customs are still practiced. Ukrainians my age do not speak the language. When the language is lost the culture soon disappears.

  Now what in the world has "fourth generation " got to do with this? First of all, we are a very "new" area. 110 years ago there were few Europeans here and the aboriginals had been locked up of reserves. Much of North America has been settled for hundreds of years. Much Europe has been settled for 1500 -2000 years. 

     So by for generations much of the culture was lost.

36 comments:

  1. Funny how much faith can change. I think most of it is because of convenience. America has countless Irish immigrants, Ireland has a Catholic majority but most Irish Americans are Protestant.

    While I'm not a Christian, I do think most Lutherans set a good example, same with Methodists. I was never a fan of Southern Baptists, who are much different from baptists outside of the American south.

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    1. I just can't see how all the denominations cannot get along! Why do they have to scrap with one another?

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  2. Yes it is true. So much has changed and many cultural ways and traditions have been lost in Canada. I think the Ukrainians are doing well though in some parts. I heard that the language they speak and the dancing and such is in better shape (and transmission) than what is in Ukraine. Where I live there is a Ukrainian Church that hosts dinners selling their traditional foods to raise money for the church. I know that in other communities where I've lived there is a lot of the dancing, hand crafts and egg painting that goes on. Even so, I'm sure that even in these areas much ground is being lost to the constant onslaught of "American" culture.

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    1. Hey, the church here has a perogie supper. It's a good fundraiser. Any group is in a large group which is overwhelming.

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  3. Did your ancestors come from Ukraine or Germany. I think in Ukraine they didn't speak German but a Russian language. Many of the chased Christians in Europe emigrated to the new land indeed. The old cultures are slowly fading away, but new ones come in their place.

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    1. My ancestors went to Russia around 1700. The area was the Ukraine but under Russia. They lived in Volhynia province and spoke German. All spoke Russian and some also spoke Ukrainian. There were issues about the use of language and that was one of the reasons they left.

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  4. I think, like invasive species, we simply go with the flow. Our environment so influences who and what we are.
    Here, Perth is celebrating its 200th anniversary. The culture is still pretty much white, Christian, and pretty red neck.
    The churches are still going, although there is much backbiting , infighting, and UnChristian behaviour. I had to quit, despite loving music. I was in a choir from the age of youngster. There is a lot of politics in the church, as I'm sure you know.
    I'm trying to keep happy in my forest.

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    1. I will never understand why denominations have to scrap with each other.

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  5. Although in geological terms 110 years is not a long time, it's longer than a human life span, and being a fourth-generation Canadian and not a Ukrainian immigrant seems sensible to me. As a child I never had the opportunity to grow up in one place and feel like an American without a home town. I think you are very lucky, Red. :-)

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    1. I understand why traditions are lost and that things change when we live in a multicultural setting. My ancestors came from an area where they made up the majority so things tended to go their way.

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  6. I am 4th generation also, and none of the culture exists.I embraced some of it out of pride in my heritage, but mein father was the last to speak German.We immigrated from Bohemia.

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    1. My Dad's first language was German but when he died he spoke very little German. Opportunities to speak the language had gone.

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  7. Sad to lose the culture, but it does happen. I spoke 3 languages at one time, still speak two...but more and more settled with english speaking community...I am losing my french speech ability. With no one around me to converse, it takes me longer to catch up with my french relatives in other areas. Once there however; for a visit, I find it comes back easily enough. We just have had a new Syrian Refugee Family of 9 move into our area....ranging from ages of 50 down to young children. I expect the young children will adapt easier than the parents. Very interesting Post Red.

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    1. The minority in a community loses out. I took French and lived in Quebec for two years. Most of my French is gone but I'm happy I had the experience. My daughter is fluent in French and taught in the French language here

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  8. It's true but inevitable I guess. My two daughters, also 4th generation, try to keep some of the culture alive on holidays through the foods they prepare but it's hard work. My grandma spoke Norwegian and my mom learned it as a child but forgot most of it when Grandma's generation was gone and th was no one to speak it with. My grandma taught me prayers, poems, children's songs, rhymes. I tried to teach my children the table grace but they can only say it when I lead. So with the next generation it will all be gone. I do feel richer for having grown up with all those traditions and language.

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    1. Your story is all too familiar. You bring back good memories for me. I remember Grandma and Grandpa's grace before eating. I think we're more open minded for having the experience in another culture.

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  9. I'm a first generation Canadian and I'm afraid most of our customs and religion have already gone by the wayside, though I don't think that is such a bad thing. I still like English beer though... I follow English football and we still wear stupid hats at Christmas dinner!

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    1. You're situation is much different. Many English customs are standard here. Not speaking English creates a wide gap. Okay , sports are global!!

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  10. I guess it depends on where one settles. There's an area in the upper Ottawa Valley that got settled by a lot of Polish immigrants in the 19th century, and the influence is still very much there.

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    1. Some communities are somewhat insulated from the dominant culture and they survive.

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  11. Well, even if you speak the same language many traditions die out. I am 14th generation with my first ancestor landing in Quebec in 1645 (he could not pay for the crossing so he signed a contract promising to work for 3 years to cover his passage. Strangely enough, he was allowed a return trip the next summer to find a wife. He was 2 week in France, found one and brought her back, she was 14, he was 16). Many of the traditions of my youth have disappeared (even if the majority of my relatives do not speak English). The everyday food is very different (even if for special occasions traditional food prevails). Nice post Red.

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    1. I often think about the situation of the French in Canada and how gradually things are lost. For us there was a struggle to maintain the culture but in the end it disappeared. You have a very interesting family history. I can only imagine how lonely these two young people were.

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  12. It's a shame traditions gradually die out but they are replaced by new traditions which probably better reflect the time and place. (my computer is now set up so I can stand and comment.)

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    1. Cultures have to change with the times. Get well soon!

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  13. Third generation here. I still cook some of the recipes of my youth though I no longer no how to make sauer kraut, blood sausage, etc. like my parents. We often took our children on a four hundred mile trip to German restaurants in Milwaukee for some authentic German cooking...:)

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    1. I know how to make sauerkraut but I don't do it. However, I still love sauerkraut.

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  14. my heritage is similar. i think i'm 3rd generation on my father's side (bohemian) and 4th on my mother's (german). they both spoke native language in their homes as kids but didn't pass it along to the kids they raised.

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    1. There has to be a good reason to speak the language and when that's lost the language dies.

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  15. Not dissimilar in lots of ways to here in Australia.

    On my maternal side I'm probably fourth generation Scots with a bit Irish thrown into the mix. On my paternal side, I'm second generation Irish. My paternal grandparents came to Australia shortly after marrying...and they had their children here in Rockhampton, central Queensland...and the rest is history (or was the future...days of future past...or back to the future...something along those lines)! :)

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    1. ...anyway, whatever happened , happened and it worked out well. It's good that you know these things .

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  16. This was such an interesting post and it resonates with me. My children are third generation with a Greek ancestry and there have been many changes since my parents came here in the late 50s and started a family. I have no problem with that. Things change over time and I go with the flow.

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    1. .. and do you still speak Greek or is it gone? My generation understood much of the language but didn't speak it.

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  17. Off the track a bit, but this reminded me of how much I love researching my ancestors. I have found so many church records and learned of their religious preferences and am intrigues by how many generations of each line strayed or stayed with certain churches. Also language...how certain phrases or words can hint at long ago language....like my mother's way of saying "daughter"...she says "door-ter"....it's really interesting. Thanks for sharing.

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  18. You are becoming a melting pot little by little with immigrants and people marrying out of their faith and heritage. In the olden days a Catholic would never marry a Lutheran...and viseaversa. Times have changed...sometimes not for the better either.

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  19. Very interesting post Red! It is very true that when language gets forgotten, culture is gradually lost. But it is very important that we must welcome change and no matter what one's roots and tradition are, one must always adapt to the region they call home, just like we would adapt to the climate!

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  20. What an incredibly fascinating post and comments. You've inspired me and I've made a note to do a post on my own blog instead of a hugely long comment here.

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