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Congratulations to Jasmine who won the Culture Week Writing Competition! To read all the brilliant entries, please click here.

What is Culture?

Jasmine 12LG

What, is, culture?

What does it mean to me?

What does it mean to others?

And what can it be?

Is it nestled withing the fabric of a special woven cloth, Or is it

Hidden in the spices wafting from grandmother’s pot?

Is it swaddled in the sound, of a mother’s tongue, Or is it

Tucked in the stories that parents tell their young?

What, is, culture?

What defines it?

What do I look for,

And how do I find it?

Is it held in the heirlooms that are handed hand to hand. Or is it

Deep-rooted in the landscape of earth or rock or sand?

Is it in books that are read, or the songs that are sung,

Is it the instruments that are played and the rhythm of a drum?

What, is, culture?

What defines it?

What do I look for,

How do I find it?

Must it be an object, or could it be more abstract?

Could it be cloaked in our values or how we think and act?

Is it written in our past, etched into stone? Or is it

Written out in ink and crossed out when new ideas are sewn?

What, is, Culture?

It seems to me it can mean lots of things,

Defining what exactly it is,

Might be as hard as flying without wings.

Everywhere I’ve looked, culture seems to be,

I’ve seen what it could mean for others,

But what does it mean to me?

Half American, quarter English, quarter Irish,

You could say I’m an unusual mix,

When they say ‘what’s your culture?’

Nothing quite clicks.

I suppose it’s my family’s past,

My great grandmother marching through the desert,

My mother fleeing from Lebanon,

The history that I inherit.

Is it possible to find ‘culture’ baked into a cake?

The victoria sponge my grandma, taught me now to make.

Does my violin count as my culture, the music that I play?

What about dance? Jazz, musical theatre and ballet?

Is it in the fish & chips that me must have on a Friday?

Is it somewhere in the excitement when I wake on Christmas day?

Is it hidden in the tabbouleh that my Medzmama makes for me?

Is it right front and centre in my love of breakfast tea?

What. Is. Culture?

What defines it?

What do I look for,

And how do I find it?

I’m not sure if I’ve found it quite yet,

It’s sort of hard to know,

But I think when I do,

It’ll feel like I am home.