To want dh's family to acknowledge Dewali?

(156 Posts)
nesticles Mon 30-Sep-13 02:19:32

I am Hindu and dh is english not religious. For 3 years I have willingly hosted ils for christmas dinner, cooking a turkey even though I am a strict vegetarian. I always make a huge effort with presents (that normally get returned even if it was on the list ils gave me) and making everything from scratch (helps that I love cooking) cos I know it is important to ils and dh.
I have a bit of history with ils (not aproving of me because I am indian). They kicked up a huge fuss around indian wedding etc.
I have been with dh almost 10 years and we have a 7 month old ds. My religion is quite important to me and we want to bring ds up knowing and selebrating both Christmas and dewali in the traditional way. The last 3/4 years ils have completely ignored Dewali and not tried to understand me or what I believe. DH and I weren't living together before that and I was studying abroad and at uni so didn't expect it. I guess I just thaught as I have become part of their family they might've wanted to acknowledge who I am. I don't want ds to see this dismissal of my beliefs and am wondering. Am I expecting too much? Am I just cross because of the history? Am I angry because even after dropping hints about dewali with dates they have still ignored it? Am I just simply expecting too much for something that is just not their festival? Am I really upset because I go to so much effort for something I don't believe in but respect and they can't give me the same respect? I wouldn't expect mil to cook a curry (she would never do! can't stand foreign food) just a "happy Dewali" phone call will do. I would even understand if she called me up in the summer and asked me when Dewali was (dates change every year) even though it's easy to just do a Google search. Please tell me am I just asking too much?Or am I really cross because my parents by tree, decorate house, give presents to dh and ils and generally make a huge fuss over Christmas even though we never did it growing up? They feel dh is part of the family and we need to respect everyone's veliefs and selebrate them. Dh understands but doesn't know how we can make a change. I can't understand why I can't just let this one go as I do with so much else when it comes to ils. Thank you for reading my nightime ramble.

pianodoodle Mon 30-Sep-13 08:40:03

If something is an important part of your family culture you want your children to know about that too.

Of course both sides of family culture should be celebrated and if you have made the effort with their traditions they should do the same.

Val007 Mon 30-Sep-13 08:42:27

EverytHing.

Please, pianodoodle, do not confuse sarcasm with intelligence.

Since OP has asked, I reply - she is unreasonable to expect people to celebrate whatever she is celebrating, aware or not of it. Noone can make anyone else do what they want. If she is hurt, it is because she chooses to feel that way. She should lower her expectations in regards to inlaws to avoid disappointment and not go out of her way if she will then expect something people do not wish to give in return. Simple as this.

PMSL at val with her "when in Rome" rage. People in this country have rich backgrounds and a variety of traditions. No harm in learning a little. It doesn't mean you're being forced to celebrate, it's just about being polite.

OP, don't let them get to you. Celebrate it, have fun. They can jog on.

CocacolaMum Mon 30-Sep-13 08:43:42

This is not really about Diwali tho is it? This is about your Il's expecting you to do all of the bending with seemingly no desire to meet you in the middle on anything. I think YADNBU in wanting to raise your dc to appreciate and embrace both sides of his culture.

Invite them over for Diwali instead of Christmas this year, let them know what its all about and that it is something you celebrate. If they then choose to disregard it there isn't much you can do but don't make excuses for your husband, he knows as well we all do that he COULD have a word on your behalf.

I celebrate Christmas every year but I also make puppets and lanterns with my children to celebrate Diwali too.. I am not religious at all but I do love a good story and the one about Rama and Sita is a cracker! My kids love it.

pianodoodle Mon 30-Sep-13 08:52:21

Please, pianodoodle, do not confuse sarcasm with intelligence

They're not mutually exclusive smile

yanbu but unfortunately they are narrow minded racists and you are unlikely to get very far

Beastofburden Mon 30-Sep-13 09:07:00

My guess is that your ILs don't know, care or understand what Diwali is or how it is celebrated. I wouldn't know to send a happy Diwali card unless a kind friend told me the score.

That said, there is clearly history with them resenting your race and your culture which is very sad and unpleasant in a family.

I would suggest you have a broader theme now that you have DS. I suspect that your childhood culture has led you to be overly respectful of your MIL and her demands. Actually, there is no reason why they should dominate your family in this way.

I would start regular family celebrations of Diwali, and other Hindu festivals. I would consider making sure DS grows up bilingual. If your ILs raise the issue, I would say that your DS is lucky enough to be part of two great world cultures and it is going to be lovely teaching him about all the things you did as a child.

Do invite them along, and it would be kind to provide something not very curried for them to eat, but there is no reason to include meat.

The advent of a son is a great opportunity to tame your MIL. She will be only too aware that the mother controls access to the grandchildren. It is time to stop being the dutiful daughter in law and start being the matriarch of your own family.

pinkdelight Mon 30-Sep-13 09:26:02

beast speaks a lot of sense. You are guaranteed disappointment if you make your ILs' involvement key to your enjoyment of Dewali (I thought it was Diwali?). Yes, some people are curious and open-minded and keen to engage with other people's cultures. Others take much much longer to get there, if they ever do. Sounds like your ILs are in the latter group and to hope that they'll make an effort, however small, to acknowledge your religion is sadly too much to expect at this stage. Just enjoy the celebration with your immediate family, friends, neighbours etc and don't expect any satisfaction from your ILs on this score. Comparing the efforts your parents make is pointless. People are different. Many feel they can't change. Play the long game, enjoy raising your DC in both cultures, and don't look for reasons to get upset.

brass Mon 30-Sep-13 09:31:50

hang on Diwali is the least of your problems here.

You say they return gifts? That is the height of bad manners in most cultures. Why do they do this?

Why are you hosting Christmas and cooking a turkey if you are a vegetarian and if they are ungracious towards your efforts? You have been in their son's life for 10 years and they are still refusing to accept you?

Time to lay some ground rules for the sake of your DS. Do not invite them to anything if they do not know how to be polite and gracious. Your DH needs to make clear you are a family and they either need to step up or stay out.

Unless you respect yourself no one else will. Stop being a doormat.

sonlypuppyfat Mon 30-Sep-13 09:34:15

Surely disinterest in other people's festivals doesn't make you a racist

lunar1 Mon 30-Sep-13 09:37:03

My dh is Hindu and we celebrate Christmas, Diwali and Durga pooja which starts soon. My mum and dad always make an effort, they have been and bought new clothes for our children as that is the traditional gift. My inlaws have posted pooja gifts for the boys plus there are Christmas gifts too.

I do think its important for your dh to help them understand the importance though.

Amrapaali Mon 30-Sep-13 09:41:30

YANBU. But I guess they are very set in their ways, and that is nOt going to change any time soon. And there seems to be a combination of fear or wariness of the "forrin" and the resentment of YOU as a daughter in law.

You have dropped subtle hints, but they are still not acknowledging it? Short of wading in all guns blazing, I dont see how you can resolve this. But i am pretty sure neither you, nor they want that kind of a feud.

Rise above it. You are part of your own family unit now. Celebrate with DH and your son. Make sure your little one grows up seeing both the beauty of Diwali and the joy of Christmas.

MrsFlorrick Mon 30-Sep-13 09:42:56

It's very unkind of your DH not to celebrate it with you!

Can't understand why. Dewali is a lovely celebration!

I don't believe you have to subscribe to a particular religion to celebrate its festivals.

I am not Hindu but have celebrated Dewali several times in Singapore. Lovely.

I wish I had more advice rather than just handholding.

IamboredandwanttoseehowlongIca Mon 30-Sep-13 09:43:01

sonly
Nope, but read the whole post, especially the first paragraph. I would assume its that which has led people to say about racism.

I actually think you need to be looking at your dh more. Why is he not organising festivities and cooking of that's what you do for him and his.

ParvatiTheWitch Mon 30-Sep-13 09:50:02

What someone wise up thread said: this isn't about Diwali. Stop being a door mat.
If they can't see past their own sense of superiority to be nice to their son's wife and DGSs mother, then any effort you make with them will be wasted. They will never like and accept you when they know you will bend over backwards however they choose to behave. Funnily enough, if you are cold but polite and do not make and don't host Christmas this year, they will either have it out, or really pull their socks up.
Fuck them; they sound shit. You sound really nice and tolerant. This is about you and something that is important to you. They should love you as family after 10 years and at least make a token effort to show they care. The fact is they don't care OP. stop trying so hard please.

HarderToKidnap Mon 30-Sep-13 09:52:26

Dnt ascribe malice where there may be none. Diwali probably isn't on their radar at all and if it is then they probably think of that as your festival which presumably you celebrate with DH and your family, as Christmas is DHs festival which he celebrates with you and his family. No malice intended, just not being aware of what you want from them. I can actually imagine a similar OP where the poster might complain that the in laws were trying to crash her religious festival despite having no connection to the religion!

My uncle's wife is Muslim and its never crossed my mind to wish her happy eid or whatever, it's her thing. I would be thrilled to be invited to a celebration for eid though, so maybe invite the ILs round for Diwali this year and involve them in the celebrations? They'll soon get the idea that you want to celebrate with them and I'm sure it will take off organically from there.

SpiceAddict Mon 30-Sep-13 09:54:16

I think it would be a good idea to invite them for Diwali this year so that they can understand what it is. If they refuse to come....well don't be upset but tell your husband that YOUR parents will not be making an effort for christmas either.

Then you could celebrate christmas with ILs and Diwali with your family (if they are in the UK).

There is a much wider problem here though. You say they can't stand foreign food & weren't happy about the Indian wedding...they haven't really accepted you yet, have they?

It will be their loss in the end (((hugs)))

For all those in the "I've-never-heard-of-Dewali-and-when-in-Rome" camp, would you make an exception if a close family member married into that religion? Because that's the situation here. OP doesn't expect everybody in the UK to research and observe Dewali, but she would like her husband's parents to show a tiny bit of interest in an important part of their own grandson's cultural heritage.

I can sort if see both sides - in some ways you probably mainly celebrate Christmas because of where you live, as you probably don't see a religious need to, so if they were living in India then there may be more of an emphasis on them to be involved. I know that you said that dh isn't religious but are they practising Christians? If they go to church regularly then they may feel that they should not be celebrating or joining in with another religion's practises. Some branches of Christianity can be very strict on this and I am afraid that it might be unlikely that they will ever join in with your celebrations. Even if they aren't now practising - if they were raised in this way their beliefs may be deep seated.

If it is not a religious objection then I would consider doing as others have suggested and have a small party - maybe just close family, possibly separate from other celebrations and have a mixture of English and Indian food. And pull out the best bits.

I should also have said that they don't sound particularly nice and whether you actually want to encourage closer links with them is another matter.

AngelsLieToKeepControl Mon 30-Sep-13 10:01:21

Yabu to just drop hints. If you want them to acknowledge it tell them, get your dc to make a card for them, invite them to celebrate with you. Just don't expect them to pick up on hints, they might not even realise that's what you are doing.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Mon 30-Sep-13 10:01:43

Don't cook a traditional Christmas meal if you don't want to. Celebrate Christmas with your DH and DCs in the way you'd like (a huge Indian feast? I'd LOVE that at Christmas, personally).

Tell your DH to tell them not to return presents. Or stop giving them. If they mention it, say you were clearly never able to get it right so you thought it best not to spend the money/make the effort any more.

Rather than getting steamed up about expecting them to phone at Dewali, organise your own Dewali celebrations and invite them, along with other family and friends. If they don't want to come, sod em. Can I come, though? grin

Chopstheduck Mon 30-Sep-13 10:02:51

the joy of mixed race relationships, hey!

They probably don't know much about your culture at all, they may have various misconceptions, they don't like your food, and I'd be willing to bet it all makes them feel highly uncomfortable! Indian weddings are so different, I expect they probably didn't enjoy it very much. I am white, dh is Indian, and my parents had huge misgivings about our relationship at first, simply based on so many misconceptions from lack of knowledge. Same as dh's family did of me, and it took many years to get past that.

I'd agree that to invite them over would be a good idea. You could do some fireworks, do the lights, buy sweets (maybe indian and english), and show them some of what your culture is about and give them the chance to appreciate it. If they still don't, sod it!

Also, I'd lay on a spread, and do non curry if they don't like spices, but I would draw the line at serving meat on Diwali. tbh, if it was me, I'd think sod it and stick at making it special for my immediate family.

How does your dh deal with it all? Does he support you in all of this?

forehead Mon 30-Sep-13 10:03:11

This has nothing to do with Diwali. OP is upset, because she believes that her inlaws refuse to make the effort with her, because she is Indian.
Ils do not like the OP, and the sending back of presents, is just a way of displaying this, albeit in a passive aggressive manner.
I believe that the op's dh is at fault. His dw is making a huge effort with HIS family and HIS culture, but he cannot be bothered to do the same. I bet if his OP, decided that she didn't want to celebrate Christmas this year her dh would have something to say about it. I would invite the ils to celebrate Diwali with you and see what happens.
BTW OP, you sound like a thoroughly nice person and i hope my ds is fortunate enough to marry a lady like you
Make sure that you bring up your ds to be billingual.

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