Haisai Gusuyoo! Happy New Year and may you have a healthy and prosperous 2010!
Although we don’t actually welcome in the year of the Tiger till February 14th, many of us have , or are celebrating the start of a new decade. What will it have in store for us? Looking back at this past year for Ukwanshin, there has been so much to be thankful for and so many blessings on our work and the many people who have gotten involved with project Ukwanshin. It seems that there is a hunger for the culture and identity, and also for the reconnection to the ancestors who came before us and practiced our culture. Hope fully this will continue and grow stronger through this year.
One observation I did see though, that is a sign of the times in many families is the loss of families spending time, especially in the new year and also young ones staying with close family and friends to help make food and enjoy together. The sharing of food was very essential before to share whawts going on with each other, learn cooking and also to just spend time together. I’ve heard many Okinawans say that they don’t make the food that their grandparents or great grandparents did, because they don’t know how, or that the families don’t get together…or worse…”it’s too humbug”. Home made food..especially for this kind of time, is actually nourishment for our bodies, and also…for our soul. Okinawans beleive that something made by others has the spirit of that person, and is actually a gift that we take into ourselves when we eat. It ties into the belief of the weavers who made the cloth for their loved ones and beleived that the cloth was a sort of protection. I can see how valuable it was in the many songs that talk about food and how the elders made it for the children. References to the different foods and nostagia in being able to eat something that grandma made is very prevolent in many folk songs. This should not end there, but should live in our families and homes.
We look forward to being able to continue our workshops and programs, and wish you a safe and happy new year!