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One Slovenian and two Italians make up our group, with some Americans, French and Spanish classmates surrounding us. We all have different traditions and sense of our culture, yet we tend to share some others. With our Slovenian friend attending a special school every Sunday in order to preserve his culture, we started questioning whether or not other countries carried out similar events in order to remain close to their nationality, and the effect these bring on our country. Our group decided to analyse what happens with cultures while migration takes place, building up the theory that the host country becomes hybrid after several waves of migration. Many Argentines fear the gradual loss of traditions, claiming that we are losing our country’s nature.
This aspect will be my main focus today. Meanwhile, my teammates will explore the issue from other points of view, including the ethnical and the religious aspects. Argentina was born as an open-door country, with the Constitution of 1853 stating the objective of ensuring the benefits of liberty for us, for our posterity and for every man in the world who wants to inhabit the Argentinean land. To this day, it is still one of the host countries with least barriers towards immigration in the world, being the one with the largest number of immigrants of South America, since Argentina’s laws ensure free education and health care for all, as well as an open policy. This led to having an 86,4% of the population self-identifying as European descent, 8% of mestizos, 4% of Arab or East Asian heritage, and 1,6% Amerindians. And yet, only 10% of the population believes that immigration brings progression and positive changes, making us the fifth country with the most negative view on the topic. In addition,81% think that migration is bad for the economy of the country, and 56% think that there are too many migrants in our land. On the other hand, one out of four Argentinians have the impression that it makes our country a richer place, cultural wise. This makes analysing this issue from the cultural perspective be very polemical.
The National Migration day is celebrated on the 4th of September in Argentina. And, every year in commemoration of the date, a celebration is held to honour all of the communities present in our local area in the Province of Buenos Aires. Over 40 communities consisting of around 8 million people got together last year in this free event full of history, music and cooking to expose their traditions and culture, with more than 1. 200. 000 visitors. Martín Arias Duval, head of Migrations department, synthesised this event as a “multicultural meeting looking to strengthen the integration taking into account, in the same way, yesterday’s immigrants as well as today’s. ” The aim is to get together many regions in one place and event, aiming to reflect the cultural diversity of various towns that are part of Buenos Aires’ identity. The majority of these migrants work to maintain their traditions and culture alive, organizing and participating in activities in clubs and associations. This demonstrate that culture does not disappear once in a host country, but remains unchanged as an integral part of their lives. Although multiculturalism is celebrated immensely, our own culture not so much. As time goes by, national days are losing their emotion, going by as any other ordinary day. No kids are seen walking around proud with their flag rosette in their chests. No more blue and white flags are hanged around the streets. No hymns are sung loud and joyful at schools. And this is not the only tradition which is being lost.
Talking to my father, he told me about his days during the summer carnival every February. With buckets and balloons full of water all around them, he used to go around the streets with his friends in a minivan, one door wide open, but only visible once you were next to the vehicle. As they neared a bus stop, they quickly splashed people waiting there before they could realise their intentions, speeding away right after. Even though I notice this is not the most morally correct way to celebrate this day, unforgettable memories are now engraved in my father’s mind. But, nowadays, this event seems to go unnoticed almost by everyone. And it made me wonder how many more traditions are gradually being lost. I decided to search up in Yahoo answers, and found a question which pondered on which national traditions were being lost, with migrations as the possible cause of the problem. Every answer varied, yet they all agreed on the gradual disapparition of these. I am aware that this source is not the most reliable one, but in this case it shows peoples direct and honest opinion on the aspect. It surprised me how many of these were being forgotten, including some which I have never even heard of. Carnival dances, 29 of ñoquis, San Juan’s bonfire, truco, folclore and tango were only some of the mentioned. The main problem with this issue from the cultural perspectives is the lack of nationality and emotion towards our own culture and traditions. Multiculturalism is celebrated and other communities are respected in our country, but we lack attention toward our own history. A solution is to start by promoting national dates, and celebrating them just like we celebrate multiculturalism.
The governments should show more importance towards these, hanging flags and giving out rosettes, and by playing anthems and hymns on these special days. National holidays should not be thrown around at any event, but used only to celebrate our nation. The love and interest towards our culture should begin when we are little, at school, where kids spend most of their time. National events to commemorate the dates should always be held with pride, love and effort. Traditional dances and music should also be taught here, always making sure to make it a fun activity for the kids in order to maintain their enthusiasm.
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