The Project: Integration or assimilation?

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Celebrating and relaxing as isolation practices

by Monika Nowicka

Examining celebratory form is important for two reasons: first, since the holiday event activates cultural life, requires the passing on of traditions and values from one generation to another, it is a time of intensive initiation and cultural socialization of individuals. Second, as opposed to ‘everyday issues’, which one can learn in daily and common interactions, the knowledge of ‘celebration’ practices require an increased cognitive activity on the part of the immigrant, a will to ‘find out’ how the local people celebrate their holidays, not only those unique to their culture, but also those relatively more universal, such as Christmas.

In order to learn about the ways of celebrating in a given country it is necessary to rely on the information from books and on the Internet or to establish closer relations with the locals. Thus, by observing how Poles spend Icelandic holidays and to what depths they comprehend them, an attempt can be made to assess whether those observed want to adapt to the host culture or are inclined to become culturally isolated. This chapter describes with whom Poles in Iceland celebrate holidays and family festivities – do they take part in Icelandic festivities and what is their knowledge of them?


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