Find connections and deeper understanding of past family members by learning about the country and time period they lived in. This month you will discover your heritage and culture, it’s in your blood. Find out what your ancestor’s life was probably like. Gain new traditions as you make connections with your ancestors.
Jump ahead to the day you’d like to see.
Be sure to take the pre experiment survey before you start and come back and complete the post experiment survey when you are done.
“The beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its people.”- Unknown
A homeland is where your family’s story began. Traditions, food and more have been handed down to you, whether you know that’s where they came from or not. You have a connection to the countries your ancestors lived in. Discover what connections you can make while learning about your homelands by watching these interviews about connecting to your Homelands and Culture:
Tip: Use our Where Am I From Meme to discover and share your heritage pie chart.
“A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and the soul of its people.” – Mahatma Gandhi
What are the countries your family originated from? Use the “birth countries” fan view at familysearch.org to view which countries your ancestors were born in. Choose one of these countries as your focus for this experiment. (you can always repeat this experiment for other homelands!)
* Requires a free account with FamilySearch
“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” – George Santayana
Look up the major events that happened in your homeland. Create a simple timeline to capture when they occurred. Some things to include are the founding of the country, wars and natural disasters. Add your ancestor’s birth, marriage and death in the timeline. Study how the major historical events could have shaped the lives of your ancestors. What discoveries did you make about your family while making your timeline?
PLAY THAT HOMELAND MUSIC
“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” – Billy Joel
Today listen to traditional music from your homeland, especially music from the time your ancestors lived there. You can also look up some popular songs in the language of your homeland, find the translation of the words so you can follow along. These songs might become your favorite or be a way to help you remember your culture when you hear them later.
Watch your Language
“If culture was a house, then language was the key to the front door, to all the rooms inside.” – Khaled Housseini
Learn some of your homeland’s language by writing down some of your common phrases in that language. Put them where you will see them and say them often. You can also search for apps to teach you the language.
Tip: Watch this Video to learn how Talkbox.mom can help you and your family learn to speak a different language quickly and easily.
TASTE OF HOME
“Food for us comes from our relatives, whether they have wings or fins or roots. That is how we consider food. Food has a culture. It has a history. It has a story. It has relationships.” – Winona Laduke
Food is a universal language. Research what your ancestors might have eaten when they were living in their homeland. What is popular in the country to eat now? Ask family members or look online for additional recipes.
Tip*: Familysearch.org has a great collection of recipes by country. If you need some help using it check out this blog post.
* Requires a free account with FamilySearch
COOK A RECIPE
“A recipe is a story that ends with a good meal.” – Pat Conroy
Trying new foods is a great way to grow and connect with your homeland. Pick one of the recipes you found yesterday and plan to make the recipe
What are your family’s favorite recipes from this homeland? Share your experience tasting your homeland’s recipe with others by making a recipe and take it to an extended family member’s house as a treat or by making a Heritage Recipe Meme.
LOOK AT PICTURE BOOKS
“(Children’s books) are chock-full of infographics, pictures and all kinds of stuff to keep the reader engaged.” James Holzhauer, biggest Jeopardy champion 2019
Head to your local library (or wherever you get your books) and look up books about your homeland. Don’t discount picture books! Spend some time browsing these books and learning everything you can about your homeland. If you don’t have access to a library check out FamilySearch Wiki, online articles or videos on YouTube.
“Our culture is our strength be it music, dance, poetry or anything, and these are very precious.” – Narendra Modi
Find a traditional dance of your homeland. Watch the dance being performed on Youtube. Try doing a few steps yourself, then teach the steps to your family and have a dance off.
“If you want to be happy in a million ways, for the holidays, you can’t beat home, sweet home” lyrics to Home for the Holidays
Find out what holidays are celebrated in your homeland. Discover how they celebrate some of the holidays, such as food and other activities. Pick one holiday and make a plan to celebrate it. Start gathering the things you need, put a reminder in your calendar, and invite family over to enjoy and learn about their homeland, too.
Tip: Want to learn about Holidays celebrated around the world? Check out this article about it.
“It’s not just about creativity, it is about the person you’re becoming while you’re creating.” – Charlie Peacock
Look up what famous artists were from your homeland. Pick a favorite piece of artwork, print it out and hang it up. You could also gather your favorite art supplies and make a piece of artwork that reminds you of your homeland or ancestor from that area.
“We may have different religions, different languages, different colored skin, but we all belong to one human race.” – Kofi Annan
Today explore the cultural beliefs of your homeland. Learn different cultural beliefs, fables, or stories that have built the culture or values they find important. You could also explore religious beliefs in that country. Find out what religion your ancestors may have practiced and what beliefs they may have had.
TAKE A TOUR
“Wherever you go, go with all your heart” – Confucius
Plan a trip to your homeland! Map out where you would want to go, what stops you would make and what major landmarks are in your homeland. Virtually travel there using Google Maps satellite view. There may also be some virtual tours available online that you could go on. Find an address where your ancestor lived in your homeland and search for that address in Google Maps.
Tip: Check out this blog post about Google Earth and how it can help you with family history.
“Culture is the name for what people are interested in, their thoughts, their models, the books they read and the speeches they hear.” – Walter Lippman
Today explore what your ancestors’ home life was like. Discover what their homes were made of, if they had a city or country life, who lived with them and whatever else you can discover to give you a fuller picture. Compare their home to your home.
SAY “I DO”
“Marriage cannot be severed from it’s cultural, religious and natural roots without weakening the good influence of society.” – Jack Kingston
Getting married is a big life event. Discover what wedding traditions your homeland has. Compare them to the traditions in your country or family. Look up where the wedding traditions originated or started. Find a marriage record for your ancestors that lived in your homeland. Write a story about your ancestors’ wedding using the traditions and customs you learned about.
DRESS THE PART
“In a world full of trends, sometimes (you) just want to wear something classic.” – Shilpa Ahuja
Look up traditional clothing from your homeland. Make sure to look into hats, shoes, jewelry, and material too. With the clothes you have on hand, try to recreate your homeland’s traditional outfits! Make sure to take a picture and share how you look!
EXPLORE HOMELAND PRIDE
“Have a sense of pride in your motherland. Just as your mother has given birth to you, so too the land has given birth to you.” – Sathya Sai Baba
Find out what the national anthem of your homeland is and listen to it. Read the words. How do you feel after listening to it? Write your favorite line down and read it often. Look up the flag of your homeland and research what the colors and symbols mean.
“Sports are such a great teacher. I think of everything they’ve taught me: camaraderie, humility, how to resolve differences.” – Kobe Bryant
Find out what sports or games are played in your homeland. Are they unique to just your homeland? Pick a sport or game, learn the rules, and play it with your family or friends! Try to find a recorded sports event in your homeland and watch it.
Go Back In Time
“Everything I learned, I learned from the movies.” – Audrey Hepburn
Watching a movie that takes place in your homeland can give you a glimpse into what life was like. Look for a movie from your homeland, it could be a historical recreation, a documentary, a biography. Make a treat (homeland traditional or your traditional) and watch the movie with friends or family.
WHO'S IN CHARGE
“Culture makes people understand each other better. And if they understand each other better in their soul, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers. But first they have to understand that their neighbor is, in the end, just like them, with the same problems, the same questions.” – Paulo Coelho
The rules and leaders of a country determine a lot on how people live there. New laws could have forced your ancestors to move to a new country, or into poverty. Laws can limit how many people are in your family or what religion you practice. Discover what the government was like when your ancestors lived there and how it would have affected their lives.
DON’T DO IT!!
“Our cultural strength has always been derived from our diversity of understanding and experience.” – Yo-Yo Man
Learn about the cultural faux pas and taboos in your homeland. Some are tradition and some are law but it’s important to know these so you can understand how your ancestors lived. Look up meal time traditions (such as what hand to eat with), how to greet someone, and how to dress. See if there are any wacky laws in your homeland, share these with family members.