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Cultural Heritage Is Important!

Heather Ferguson, Student, Fitchburg State University

There is no getting around the fact that cultural heritage is important to many people. The fact that cultural heritage is important is a no-brainer! Cultural heritage is so very important, not only to me, but to you, too. The lives that we all live wouldn’t be possible without the very important concept that is cultural heritage because it is who we are. We are all products of the people who came before us, and having that connection to our ancestors, or even people as close to us as our grandparents, is only possible because they passed things down to us. Those things, be they physical, intangible, or geographical, are part of us, are part of who we will become, are part of what we will pass down. The people who came before us struggled to continue their families, fought to keep their families alive, and eventually become us, their great grandchildren, their grandchildren, their children. We are the result of so much, and we are responsible for keeping that memory alive. So here are five reasons why cultural heritage is important!

  1. Personal Identity: One of the first things that comes to mind, at least to my mind, is the prospect of personal identity. Who would we be if not for the connections we draw from our ancestors? Who would we be if not for the traditions passed down by our parents? We don’t choose where we’re born, but we can always choose to learn more about our histories and our people. Learning more about who we came from, who we are, can be a great part in finding your personal identity. Looking into my own history, I know that the British Empire took over quite a bit of the world, and while they didn’t treat the people in those lands at all well, it’s still mind-blowing to think that I come from a people who once had the greatest empire in the world. We can learn so much about ourselves from looking at the culture before us.
  1. Familial Connections: Another thing that cultural heritage can give us is familial connections. We can bond with family members through shared culture, even if we don’t have anything else in common. Passing down recipes and stories, books and clothes, holiday traditions: these are all forms of cultural heritage, and not everyone has those connections. Cultural heritage is important to the family, to the individual, and to communities.
  1. Preservation: Cultural heritage preserves the way things used to be: the way that people used to think, used to behave, used to celebrate. Passing down traditions can and does preserve the way that people used to live. One specific thing that pops to mind is haggis. It used to be a staple of Celtic diets, and now it’s more common on holidays and special days, but it can still teach us. Haggis can teach us how the Celts used to eat, whyat lengths they went to so they could eat, and how the prepared that meal. Nowadays haggis is cooked in an oven, but the Celts would have cooked it over an open fire. This passing down of a recipe preserves even just a small part of their culture, and that makes it important.
  1. History: Cultural heritage, on a very large scale and tied into preservation, tells us the history of a people. Every single tradition and artifact combines to show us how those people lived, shows us the history of our ancestors. The things that are passed on show us what they thought was important, and that strengthens the history it writes.
  2. Enjoyment: Cultural heritage leads to so much fun! Learning about other people’s traditions, learning about another person's ancestors, exploring the world that we live in is an eye-opener, and it can be very enjoyable! I love to read about ancient cultures and see how they connect with my friends' lives. I love to read the highs and lows of my ancestors, of my friends’ ancestors, of everyone’s predecessors.