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Top > Family Traditions > A Cultural Dinner
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A Cultural Dinner

Every couple of months our family hosts a special dinner. We decide upon a place that we would like to learn more about and plan the event accordingly. Every family member is responsible for doing their own research on the city or country we choose. I am responsible for ordering a map that we can discuss over dinner and my husband hunts for other items that represent the location. (One of the things he tries to find is a CD featuring music from the featured city/country.) About a week before the dinner, we get together to plan the menu. We focus on picking items that are typical of the place we are visiting. Then at the dinner we discuss all the things we’ve learned about the culture, geography and traditions of the location. It’s become so much fun, that the friends of my children often ask for invitations to the event as well.

The event has inspired both the kids and me to learn new things about new places and cultures. It creates excitement over learning and appreciation for different cultures and people.

Here’s a list of some of the countries we’ve "visited": China, India, Mexico, Russia, Germany, Japan and Italy. In addition, we’ve also picked a couple of cities in the U.S. like New York, Dallas, Boston and Philadelphia.

~Dina M., New Haven, CT

Take a trip to India!

  • Add simple fabric drapes over your clothing to represent the traditional Indian dress.
  • Eat at a low table or sit cross-legged on a thin bamboo mat, called a chattai, placed on the floor. Try turning your coffee table into the dinner table!
  • Play Indian music.
  • Eat with your hands. Most people in India believe that eating with their hands makes the food taste better. (Note: Breads are often used as eating utensils to scoop up or wrap around food.)
  • Spices such as cardamom, cumin, turmeric, coriander and cloves are important in Indian cooking. Get a mortar and pestle and grind your own spices.
  • Discuss the various religions of India: Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, and Sikhism.
  • Watch a travel movie from India or a movie filmed in India such as Ghandi
  • Indian Facts -India has over 1 billion inhabitants and 15 major languages.
  • Decorate your house with brightly colored cloths and baskets to create a sort of "bazaar" atmosphere
  • Plan your menu: Naan Bread, Chai Tea, Vegetable Curry, and Tandoori Chicken.

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