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Shriya Bhamidipati: Thanksgiving Biryani

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The beauty of the holidays can also be seen in the variety of our personal and family traditions. On this Thanksgiving Day, Shriya Bhamidipati tells us about hers.

The room filled with laughter as my dad cracked yet another joke he read on the internet. The dining room had a mouth-watering aroma of a well-known south Indian dish tossed with baked layers of rice and vegetables, biryani. I watched as my cousin swooshed the sambar around with the ladle. As I stared out the window, watching the colorful leaves artfully escape my line of sight, I thought about how it was just perfect to have these delicacies around me on this fall Thanksgiving Day.

At this point, you may be wondering: How is this Thanksgiving? I don’t blame you for that. It may not seem like a typical Thanksgiving evening with the turkey and mashed potatoes being served as the main dish, however over the years my family and I were able to create our own version of Thanksgiving. Our version was something that represented our heritage and culture, while still preserving the most important parts of Thanksgiving: spending time with family and giving thanks to all things in life.

When I was younger, I used to resent these holidays, as I could never tell my friends what I actually ate on Thanksgiving, since it was so different from what they were eating. I was certainly very insecure about the way my family changed American traditions, and I simply wanted to fit in with everyone else. For a majority of my early childhood, I struggled to find a balance between how “Indian” I was, and how “American” I was. It seemed to me that I never really fit in with any community.

Eventually, as I grew up, I began to realize that our merged traditions are what makes me, me, and they allowed me to find that balance between being Indian and American. Our integrated traditions made my childhood unique, and brought me closer to my own cultural identity.


Today, I can see that many young adults and children from immigrant families often struggle with comfortably expressing their culture when it is so different from the culture they see around them. However, it is our integrated traditions that help us find a balance between our ethnicity and nationality.

With a Perspective, I am Shriya Bhamidipati.

Shriya Bhamidipati is a senior in high school. She loves cooking, spending time with her family, and celebrating her culture.

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