We all have different aspects that make up our identity, with religion playing at least a small role in the life of many. Personally, I grew up in a multi-faith household, so my religious identity is no cut and dry. My dad is a Calvinist from Switzerland, while my mother is an American Jew from New Jersey.
Living in a multi-faith household was my normal while growing up, so I didn’t see anything special or unique about it during the first few years of my life. When I entered elementary school, I noticed that none of my friends came from multi-faith households. I felt like the odd one out at times among friends, although not in a bad way necessarily.
This all changed in university, where it seemed many of many friends came from multi-faith, multi-cultural backgrounds. So, here’s a list that they are anyone who comes from a multi-faith household may relate to.
1. More holidays mean more food.
One of the best parts about holidays can be food. With more than one religion in your household, there’s a good chance you’ll have more opportunities to eat amazing food.
2. There’s a chance your ancestors hated each other.
It’s weird to think that Christians persecuted Jews throughout history, as someone who grew up in a Jewish and Christian household.
3. You may have to learn multiple languages to understand what’s happening.
I speak neither Hebrew nor Latin. Safe to say I miss a lot during service!
4. Holidays may overlap.
This was a blessing during my freshman year of university. I was able to celebrate both Christmas and Hannakuah while I was home over winter break.
5. Your family may give you combined presents.
Thanks for the Christmas/Hannakuah gift!
6. You may feel out of place with certain family members.
It probably is not a shocker that I’m not close to my maternal uncle who has said it’s a shame that my mother didn’t marry a Jewish guy. There’s no problem with my dad being a Christian.
7. You’re accepting of other cultures and religions.
You grew up around different cultures and religions, so you tend to be accepting of others.
8. You’ve experienced how the blending of different religions is never a perfect fit.
Personally, I wasn’t baptized nor had a bat-mitzvah.
9. You may be on the receiving end of ignorance.
I have been told “you don’t look Jewish” a lot, including by other Jews. Funny thing is, except for my hair and height, I look a lot like my mother.
10. You spend a lot of time looking for your identity.
Who even are you? A short answer would be a wonderful human being from a multi-faith background.
11. Some family members might not fully embrace customs, cuisines, or traditions of one of your religions.
My dad doesn’t understand my love of matzo ball soup. But that’s okay — more for me.
12. Some people may question how you can practice multiple faiths.
It’s easier than it looks.
13. Your diet may be complicated
Certain religions can have specific guidelines for regular meals or holidays. Regardless, it is difficult to keep track of everything.
14. You become an expert in comparative religion.
You grow up explaining the differences and similarities between religions in your multi-faith household to people who don’t understand how you can practice both.
15. You don’t get why people are bigoted towards other religions.
You grew up in a household where practicing different religions were accepted. Why isn’t everyone accepting towards all religions?
16. You forgot which side of your family practices which religion at times.
My twin brother once ridiculed me for telling everyone at my cousin bar-mitzvah that we were born a day after Christmas. It’s fine, David.
17. You listen to even more holiday music than someone who practices one religion
You jump back and forth between tunes like “Santa Clause is Coming to Town” and “I Had a Little Dreidle.”
18. You sometimes confuse greetings.
19. You love learning about other religions.
You grew up in a household where you learned about multiple religions, so you are open and want to learn about others.
20. You have so many decorations in your house than you can keep track of.
You need to be prepared for every single holiday.
21. You wouldn’t change your multi-faith upbringing for the world.
Growing up in a multi-faith household has helped shape who you are today.