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Voices: Building Traditions with My Son

I remember my own Easter Sunday memories, and now I am building new ones with my son.
Image: Diana Limongi's son Enzo coloring eggs for the Easter holiday
Diana Limongi's son Enzo coloring eggs for the Easter holiday.Diana Limongi

Growing up Easter was one of my favorite holidays. I remember two things about Easter: making a basket full of colorful eggs and having nice clothes - and I mean nice - for Easter Sunday. I had hats and gloves and pretty shoes, all matching. My mom believed it was important to look nice for Easter Sunday mass.

My young, cool aunts would take my brother and me and we’d make colorful eggs. Every year I remember wanting to get a new Easter basket, and every year my parents would say, "What's wrong with the one you have?" In retrospect, of course, probably nothing, nothing, though as a kid I felt cheated about having to use the same Easter basket for a few years.

My parents never really fell into the commercialization of holidays. They would do just enough to make us happy, but they would never go overboard. Perhaps it was because they didn't have the money to spend on trivial things like Easter candy, or the candy wasn't that great for us anyway.

It gave me a sense of appreciation for the things I did have, because I know my parents worked hard to give us what they could. It showed me to not take things for granted; something my husband and I want to instill in my son.

Equally important, I want to create meaningful traditions that celebrate all the cultures in our home, which are a big part of our lives. While I often consider myself bicultural, the truth is, my family is multicultural, and I am too. My parents are Ecuadorian, and they worked hard to make sure that my brother and I grew up proud of our heritage. They made sure we spoke Spanish and always emphasized it was important not to forget our roots.

Diana Limongi's son Enzo coloring eggs for the Easter holiday.Diana Limongi

Influenced perhaps by our diverse background (My Ecuadorian parents' ancestors are from Spain and Italy) I always wanted to know more about different cultures and travel. So, I studied abroad and lived in France. That is where I met my husband, who is a Frenchman of Italian roots.

So my little boy Enzo is French/American/Hispanic/European and we are raising in a multilingual home. Where does a family like this feel at home? We live in Queens, New York, one of the most diverse cities in the nation.

I believe tradition building is an important part of parenting and especially important in multicultural families. Traditions give children something to look forward to and can be valuable teaching moments. Since Easter is one of my favorite holidays, I try to make it very special.

The first year, celebrating Easter and making Easter eggs was more about establishing traditions; it was more about me than about my son.

Last year, we invited friends over to color Easter eggs and we had an egg hunt in our living room! The eggs were filled with stickers, stamps, crayons, and other non-candy items.

This year, we painted our eggs a couple of days early because on Easter Sunday, my son and I will be on our way to the White House for the Annual Easter Egg Hunt celebrated on Monday April 21st. How did this happen? Well, I think it was my desire to make sure that I raised a child proud of his heritage that started it all. I started blogging a few years ago and became very active on social media, so this Latina blogger will be there as part of a group of parents partaking in the event’s Tweetup. I will be tweeting and posting on Instagram throughout the day!

Truthfully, to say I’m excited is an understatement. As a daughter of immigrants, I can’t even believe I get to go to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and I never thought I’d have this opportunity. As an American mom, I’m even more excited about sharing it with my son, since I think he represents the future of America: multicultural, multilingual, diverse - and of course promising and beautiful.