Carrying on the traditions of Shera

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Tradition and customs are a crucial part in every culture. Holidays such as Thanksgiving have become an essential part in American culture. In groups assimilated into American society, such as the German Americans or Nigerian Americans, Thanksgiving also molds into their accepted culture. However, these groups will also continue to retain the traditions and customs of their home country into their new country.

Tradition and customs are a crucial part in every culture. Holidays such as Thanksgiving have become an essential part in American culture. In groups assimilated into American society, such as the German Americans or Nigerian Americans, Thanksgiving also molds into their accepted culture. However, these groups will also continue to retain the traditions and customs of their home country into their new country.

For Chaldean Americans, they will both celebrate American and Chaldean traditions and holidays. For several Sunday’s after the initial Easter Sunday, Chaldean villages celebrated through a village-wide party in the village’s open space. These celebrations are known as Shera.

The Sheras are associated with the village’s monasteries. The village Alqosh celebrates the Mar Hormuz Shera, while the Batanya village celebrates the Mar Oraha Shera. Some villages will not have their own specific monastery honoring a certain saint, but they will still join the celebration with their counterpart villagers.

On April 23rd, the Batnaya villagers celebrated the Mar Oraha Shera in El Monte County Park of Lakeside. More than two thousand Chaldeans attended the feast of Mar Oraha.

Families will eat breakfast, lunch and dessert at the park with plenty of appetizers in the middle. The foods are traditionally Mediterranean, with a Chaldean touch to it. Families will come packing with barbeque trays, pacha (stuffed tripe), dolma (stuffed grape leaves), etc. for Shera. Most families will prepare days in advance for the special day.

Shera starts with a “Zuyha” where a mini-mass takes place at the park. The people will follow the cross and the priest across the park.

Afterwards, the people are free to dance to folk, western and eastern music. Adnan Mansour, a local Chaldean celebrity, performs most of the folk and eastern songs. The attendees danced to a traditional dance known as “khiga” along to the music.

Most Chaldeans look forward to Shera, as it brings religion, family and culture together. It is a time of celebration, socialization and fun.

Traditions and customs do not have to stop once they are no longer practiced in place of origin. They can certainly continue where their people take them.

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