July 17th, 2015

As Muslims and Mexicans Celebrate in the USA...

oldtown2

I've never once seen bloody animals being sacrificed, goats with sliced throats or any other celebratory or religious customs of Muslims celebrated on the streets of the USA. However, I remember readers sending me photos of these religious traditions, which may seem barbaric to some, playing out on the streets of different Russian cities. I've always struggled with the question of immigration vs. cultural heritage. To what extent should immigrants in a new country part with their cultural ties, and assimilate into the new environment? I think it's a delicate balance, and there are no easy answers.

When I was in San Diego a few months ago, my visit coincided with one of the most important Mexican holidays - Cinco De Mayo. Most Americans think this is Mexican Independence Day, but in fact it's a day to commemorate the Mexican army's victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. The holiday is widely celebrated in the USA, with many festivals and ordinary citizens eating Mexican food and sipping margaritas in the warm sun. I was in Old Town San Diego, a huge Mexican mecca in California, during Cinco De Mayo and encountered all kinds of festivities, food, beautiful dancers and mariachi bands.Collapse )