Culture is all around us, the traditions and the forms of self-expression that we carry forward and pass down. Every Fall, my boyfriend’s family throws a pumpkin-carving party. Around 80 people – family, friends, neighbors, friends of friends – come each year, some traveling hours to get there. We spend the day playing games, eating food, and, of course, carving pumpkins. When night falls, we light our pumpkins and vote on our favorites. But everyone knows that it’s not about the competition – it’s about enjoying the season and celebrating our carved creations and the community we’ve all built together. I look forward to this party every year – it is truly a family holiday! Every person contributes in their own way to keep this tradition alive – buying pumpkins, making food, sharing rides, cleaning and decorating, setting up the contest, playing music, inviting new friends and old friends to join in. This past year, my nephew was born, so this fall was the first time that he came to the party too. I’m so excited to be sharing this tradition with the next generation, and I can’t wait until he is old enough to carve his pumpkin too.