Italian-Americans are a crucial part of the USA’s social fabric, but there is evidence to suggest that connections to the old country are disappearing. According to Fortune, just 550,000 people now speak Italian in the USA, down from 900,000 in 2001. A big part of this is first-generation immigrants passing away, and ties to Italy growing weaker. Preserving a connection to Italy takes effort, but there are simple and quick ways to re-engage with your roots.
Writing a letter
Email, texts and instant messengers have made modern life much more convenient than ever before. Unfortunately, they often don’t carry the same depth of thought or character as a hand written letter. There are few better ways to make an immediate connection to Italy, then, than by penning a letter. Having family isn’t even necessary; according to lifestyle mag Yes!, pen pals are more popular than ever before. Furthermore, it’s financially viable; according to delivery website OnlineStamp.net, postage costs remain low, as does stationery. In the short term, why not reconnect by talking to someone who lives the life?
Immersing in the culture
Engaging with the Pittsburgh Italian community will likely provide a good dose of Italian culture. However, you can always do more. Some things are simple; cooking traditional dishes in the traditional manner, and learning some of the language. You can go more in depth by taking part in Italian-language events and film, or by researching and then getting involved in Italian holidays to get an idea of what it’s like in the home country. Live Science note that Patron Saint days are particularly popular and unique, as is the pasquetta period.
Take a trip
The ultimate way to connect with Italy is, of course, to take a trip. Money allowing for flights, a trip to Italy can be conducted cheaply, and that’s probably the best way to enjoy it authentically. Travel back to your family’s roots, meet and talk to as many people as possible, and enjoy the customs and rituals of the country. Take life slowly, absorb every bit of culture you can, and find your roots.
Italian culture is fading a little in the USA, but there are easy ways to find it again. If you can’t take a trip, you can write a letter, or enjoy Italian culture at home. Even simple steps will help you to re-engage with the old and beautiful culture the world knows so well.