Choosing Between Two Cultures

Josi’s twelfth birthday is approaching and I asked her Mandarin teacher if there was any special significance to it, since it begins another cycle of the Chinese zodiac (the Chinese zodiac cycle is twelve years with one animal representing each year). I was told she should wear red a lot during her twelfth year—for prosperity.

I also found a few other things as well. This is Josi’s twelfth year. Unlike our customs in the U.S. the Chinese consider babies to be a year old on the day of their birth. In Chinese culture Josi is approaching her thirteenth birthday.

In America the Chinese zodiac is represented by year only, so all of 2009 is The Year of the Ox. In China, this is not the case, The Year of the Ox actually began on January 26, 2009 and ends on February 13, 2010. The Chinese year runs on a lunar calendar. 

So I asked Josi what she thought of all of this, what she wanted to do. She chose to be a Tiger, even though she is actually an Ox, embracing the Americanized form of the Chinese zodiac. Perhaps one day she’ll change her mind and go with Chinese custom. It’s her informed choice.

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1 Comment

Filed under Adopted Teens, Adoption Issues, Cultural Awareness, International Adoption, Multicultural Families, The International Mom

One response to “Choosing Between Two Cultures

  1. Liz Morgan

    Thank you so much for this posting. Our daughter will be 11 (in western calculations) soon. I enjoyed the fact that Josi chose her own symbol.

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