Cultural Background Paper

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Date Submitted: 04/01/2009 01:25 PM

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Cultural Background Paper

University of Phoenix


Mono Engvig

February 22, 2009

Cultural background is a major source for determining individual identity. It is the basis for a large part of expression, self-definition, and sense of group belonging. As cultures intermix and interact, changes occur in cultural identities. I believe that one’s own cultural background and heritage help shape that individual’s personality, along with various other influences, such as family and life experiences. The following paper will discuss the similarities and differences between norms of my cultural background and that of the dominant American culture. In addition, the paper will discuss how these similarities and differences affect my life, how my cultural background contributed to the mix that is the dominant American culture, and how I learned of my culture.

My great grandparents on both my mother’s and father’s sides of the family emigrated from Ireland. Ireland is the third-largest island in Europe, and it lies to the north-west of continental Europe. The first settlements in Ireland date from 8000 BC, and by 200 BC Celtic migration and influence had come to dominate the island. Ireland is the legal name of the state, but the legal description is the Republic of Ireland, and is occasionally used to differentiate the state from the island (Gallagher, N.D.).

I will compare and contrast the norms of Ireland, my cultural background, and that of dominant American culture, beginning with the similarities. The main similarity between Ireland and American culture is the English language. Prior to this, the Irish Gaelic was the sole language of my culture; however, it is now spoken natively by a small minority of the Irish population and English is the main language spoken. Another, more obvious similarity is the widespread celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Even though it is not an official holiday in the U.S., St. Patrick's Day has a long...