Longevity Lock (长命锁)

In Attire
Relationship: Child of im/migrant
My longevity lock
My longevity lock

 I was born to a family of traditional Chinese descent.  I was taught at a young age to speak my family’s native tongue, Mandurian, in order to communicate with family. However, because I was born in the US, I grew more American than Chinese. When I was younger, I was too small to understand the importance of heritage. Disinterested in my culture and when learning how to write and speak in Mandurian, I never took it seriously. These days, it is harder to communicate with my relatives in our native tongue, so I have learned the importance of connecting with my roots. I have learned a new tradition, from the Han Dynasty, practiced in China. Back then in China, people believed in evil spirits so they would tie 5 different colored strings for protection outside their doors, believing that the strings contained magic. Over generations, the strings became a longevity lock: a bracelet or a necklace. Usually made in pure silver, they’re given to babies when they are 1 month old. My grandma once gave me a longevity lock, and I have had it ever since even though it does not fit me anymore. When I look at the jewelry it reminds me of how much I have grown, physically and mentally. Although not fully involved with my culture, I have learned to appreciate every bit that my parents have shared with me. I hope to learn more, so then I will be able to pass them down to the next generations. The tradition in the family will endure, hopefully becoming a part of their identity and tradition. 

Place(s): China

– DC

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant