Relationship: Child of im/migrant
Pancit with glass noodles
Pancit with glass noodles

In Filipino culture, eating noodles during one's birthday symbolizes long life. Pancit is a Filipino noodle dish. It features lengthy rice noodles, meat, and vegetables, creating a savory taste. In my family, what made pancit mean long life was the correlation between the dish’s long strands of noodles and how they represent life. The tradition was passed down to me by my mom and dad, who had both moved to the United States at a young age. But, they embraced it for different reasons.  My mother's connection to pancit stems from her life in the Philippines, where family presence was minimal due to her strict but loving parents. Despite this, she cherished family dinners. Mostly during birthdays when pancit was served, my grandparents would celebrate and make sure that their kids ate pancit while wishing them to live a long life. Inspired by this, my mom carried it in our family. However, my dad who rarely talked about his family situation had urged me in his hard Filipino accent, “I do it ever since I was a kid for a long time, so you should too.” Hearing that he did this tradition ever since childhood led me to infer that his parents, like my mom's, also trusted in the bond between eating pancit and longevity. Grasping the reasons behind this custom made me appreciate my Filipino heritage and traditions. The tradition not only connects us to our past but shapes our perception of family, culture, and values. Pancit becomes a symbol of continuity, love, and a prosperous life.

Place(s): Philippines, Las Vegas

– Jacob Benedicto

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