Celebrating the Traditions of our Ancestors
October 01, 2013
Do you need a break from your genealogy research? Okay, let’s go celebrate!
Researching our ancestors does not only have to involve finding long-lost names and dates to put into a family tree. Genealogy can be “all-inclusive,” and there are plenty of fun and interesting things we can learn. We can learn what our ancestors ate (especially when they celebrated and feasted), how they dressed and danced, as well as various other customs and traditions; this all adds depth to the knowledge and appreciation of those who came before us. We do not even need to travel the world in order to see some of these traditions. Many towns in our region hold annual festivals recognizing the various ethnic groups that now make the Kansas City area their home.
These festivals showcase the ways in which our ancestors celebrated. For example, when work in the fields or around the household was done, they enjoyed themselves through traditional folk music, dancing, and food, which is always in exceptional demand today. We are very lucky there are individuals who still uphold and pass these customs from one generation to the next, even if it may only be for entertainment reasons.
While the largest local ethnic festival, the Kansas City Ethnic Enrichment Festival, already closed its gate a few weeks ago, there are still other ethnically-oriented festivals to catch this year.
At this time of year, it is the Oktoberfest. It offers a taste of traditional German beverages and food, with bratwursts and apple strudel being especially popular. You can enjoy German music and dancing that includes performers in traditional folk costumes.
If you do not mind the distance, let’s go to Hermann. It's the biggest Oktoberfest in MO and is held for four weekends in October. However, the Oktoberfest is not the only tradition there is to experience at this time of year. The city of Lawrence, KS will be holding the Nordic Heritage Festival on Saturday, October 5. The planners promise a rich program, complete with a Viking presentation, and of course tasty food, crafts, and traditional Scandinavian music and dancing. The Midwest Genealogy Center will have a representative there as well.
So, come taste and enjoy the same traditions our ancestors enjoyed. And there is no need to worry if you do not have any German or Nordic heritage. Everyone is invited, not to mention there is a chance that you may recognize common or related customs and food that could have been shared by more than one ethnic group. See you there!
Midwest Genealogy Center