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mizzwillie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Cultural heritage is important for anyone in this country to understand.  If you define heritage as what is handed down from the ancestors or as part of the past, and culture as the concepts, skills, arts, institutions or really the civilization landmarks of the people being considered, you can understand the concept of cultural heritage.  For example, my husband is Danish and Swedish only as his grandparents came from the "old country" and Lutheran in religion.  At the table, food was mostly white in color, people were quiet, one person spoke at a time, emotions were not expressed, and most things left unsaid.  My family is a Heinz with all sorts of mixed cultures such as French Canadian, Irish, Spanish, English to name a few.  Our dinner time was completely different with several conversations at once, everyone taking part, eating all sorts of different foods,  and emotions expressed about almost everything.  Very few topics were not discussed.  His entry into my family was overwhelming for him to the point of going for a walk with me to be able to handle the commotion and noise of an Irish Catholic family.  Now, think of the cultural heritage of someone who is from Morocco or Mexico or Somalia or the Ivory Coast.  Their traditions, family styles, religious convictions and practices, their respect for what is important in their culture is the idea of cultural heritage as in what you inherit that is important about your past and the culture from which you came.  To understand the person, it helps to understand what the cultural heritage may emphasize that is different from the accepted norm in this society.