Discovering AAPI Heritage Month

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, AAPIHM. Designated as a time to honor the contributions of these communities to our country’s own history and culture.

The month-long celebration was established in 1992, as part of the celebration, people from different Asian American and Pacific Islander communities share their unique cultural traditions and experiences.

AAPIHM celebrates the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to American history, culture, and society. Holi also celebrates the diversity and unity of communities. Both celebrations are opportunities to appreciate the richness of different cultures.

During Holi, a colorful festival that marks the arrival of spring in India, people celebrate by dancing in the street and throwing colored dye at each other. They also participate by preparing dishes such as Malpua and wearing clothing, like suits and dresses. 

“[I love] Holi because it is a color festival and we like to color each other,” sophomore Kashika Rana said.

Beliefs and traditions are an important part of Asian American and Pacific Islander culture and each community has their own unique cultural traditions. Sophomore Annie Subongkod, celebrated her Thai traditions during her time in Thailand. She took part in the festival Loy Krathong, many wear Thai dresses and float the Krathong, in the river for forgiveness from Buddha, it is an event that is held in April yearly.

“It is another important tradition where people pour water over a statue of Buddha for good luck and for the adults to ask for blessings,” Subongkod said.

Language is also an important aspect of culture, being able to speak English and the mother tongue of one’s culture helps everyone communicate better. But beliefs and superstitions also play a role in Asian American and Pacific Islander culture.

“I believe in [multiple] Gods. We believe in book god, so we respect books because they also have gods in them as well [such as] the god of knowledge, [the] sun god and [the] water god,” Rana said.

Religious beliefs can follow a person into their daily lives like how Rana believes in multiple gods, but Subongkod’s belief in Buddhism and superstitions influences her daily life.These practices seem small, but reflect a commitment to the values they hold.

“We believe in Buddhism, but we also believe in superstitions, [such as] not cutting your nails or hair on Wednesday,” Subongkod said.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the rich cultural heritage and diversity of these communities.