Opal Siren

My life in dreams

Series Of Uncomfortable Traditions

on April 8, 2013

Growing up in a foreign country had its ups and downs. I learned a lot and I am grateful for the experience. There were some things that I loved like visiting the beaches in the Dominican Republic, eating mangoes and drinking fresh coconut water. Then, there were things that were not so enjoyable like the heat waves, hurricanes, cold showers and the lack of fast food; which they do have now and I realize now I was not missing a good thing after all. When I would visit the States I engorged in all the American things I missed, like fast food and hot showers, Hershey’s candy, apples and grapes…For some reason we did not get to eat apples and/or grapes unless it was Christmas in the D.R.

Then, there were the traditional customs in the Dominican Republic which were pretty interesting; like celebrating Three Kings Day and having many days/holidays for the Sacred Virgin. But, there are some cultural traditions that still make me very uncomfortable and made me rebel against the very own culture and traditions that made me who I am today.  Here are a few of those traditions that I would like to blog about:

1. Young love. It is perfectly acceptable for brides and grooms to be as young as 15. Young girls from the poorest villages and “Barrios”(low-income areas of the cities), just pack up their things and leave in the middle of the night with their suitors. Granted it could be very romantic, but some of these girls are too young and should be in school and not cleaning up after a spouse. Besides, most of them wind up at the groom’s parents’ home; since he is probably just as young. I mean  why can’t these teens just practice safe intimate relations and still go to school and stay with their parents? Why do they need to be forced to get married or elope?

2. More young love. It is acceptable for a young bride to marry a much older suitor. This really gets under my skin. I mean most of the girls are not minors per se, but there is definitely a big age difference in most cases. A lot of the cases are between a very young college-age girl, let’s say, and a much older man who has  U.S. citizenship  or the means to provide for the girl and her family. I understand that not having many opportunities and being poor drives families to give up on their young daughters, and I have no right to judge, but it still makes me very uncomfortable to see older men with such young brides. Some of them are as old as the bride’s great-grandfather.

3. Girls do go to school and college, but in the end wind up in the kitchen. I know this is a generalization, but women are raised to tend and take care of the home and their family. There is nothing wrong with this line of thought, but in my home we both take care of each other. I also really resented learning how to cook, iron or do laundry for my future husband. I wanted to learn to take care of myself and to know how to do it for my benefit, not just for some guy I haven’t met yet. Thank God my husband is a great cook and a great helper. He never makes me feel like I have to do all the chores because I am the woman of the home.

4. If you are 21 and not married, you are an old maid. This one goes back to being a young bride in order to even be considered as a good potential partner. I resented this line of thought and it really made me uncomfortable to think that someone as young as 21 could be a bride and a mother to someone. I mean at 21, one should be going to college, graduating college, having a good time and dating…Definitely not getting married! But that is my opinion after all. I am happy that I waited until I was almost 27 years-old and even now I think I was too young. I was not as mature or wise as I am now.

I guess the world cannot be perfect and even here in the U.S.A there are  traditions that make me cringe. There are different cultures and traditions, languages and values in our world. That is what makes the world a world and not just a planet. Without these very different things, there wouldn’t be any diversity.

Happy Reading!!! 

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