The day before I left for Italy, one of my cousins told me that we were all pro-Italian because that was in our family. To be honest, I don’t think I really associateed with the Italian identity. The only country I had ever attempted to associate with was America, and I wasn’t actually born there to begin with, but I felt a stronger connection to America than I did pretty much any other country. I have enjoyed celebratory meals with my family, but that doesn’t mean I identify with the traditions of the family.
Going to Italy made me kinda realize that I didn’t have a whole lot of connection to the place. Besides the huge Catholic presence (which I will elaborate on further in tomorrow’s post) and my lack of familiarity or interest in the language, I don’t seem to relate to the festive culture there. In Italian culture, the theme of family, tradition, festivity, and food is very strong. Personally I do like to indulge in food, but I care little for the tradition or family aspect. The only reason I bother attending Catholic weddings for family members is because I expect the celebration to be a good time (and believe me, standing in a Christian church between everyone else (except my atheist brother) singing hymns and reciting psalms and being blasted by religious music is like spending an hour in hell; I come out alright but it’s hell for someone like me), though in fairness the wedding party I attended was a good time save for dealing with my drunk dad while returning to the hotel.
You know, in general, festivity is good on an individual level but I don’t really like it when it’s fiesta culture, when everyone just parties for the sake of partying, and you just mindlessly go with the flow of partying and indulge without thought, dignity, or control (then again that’s the same reason I don’t drink alcohol). There’s nothing wrong with seeking a good time, but one should try not to make festivity the goal of life, because then there’s no point in keeping your mind if all you want is to party. Not to mention, Italian culture is about festivity, family, and tradition, and those things coming together, and so it’s all about going with the flow of traditions anyway. I see indulging in festivity while going with the flow as non-ideal, and I think you should indulge because you want to, but because someone decided it’s “party time” or because it’s traditional. The only sense of tradition you should have to abide by is your own, if you choose to.
Also, in Italy there are apparently very little restrictions regarding drinking. In fact they actually introduce alcohol to children by watering down wine with water. It sounds harmless but to me it’s a signal of a culture so bent of festive indulgence and passing down the traditions that people are willing to put alcohol in children, and I was never comfortable with that idea. To top it off, people in the beaches in Italy I’ve been to seem pretty comfortable with letting their little girls roam either without tops or in two-piece swimsuits too revealing for little kids, and this disturbs me whenever I end up going to the beach.
So you see, I don’t feel like I belong there. Not after what I’ve noticed. I never cared for the identity anyway so it’s not like I belonged there anyway.