tradition Archives - StoryCorps

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Ramadan: Couple Reflects On Their New Holiday Tradition

Suzanne Jaber grew up in Lebanon, and while her family is Muslim, they were surrounded by many Christian neighbors and their holiday traditions. After moving to the United States and raising a family of her own, she wanted to create her own traditions that melded the celebrations of both cultures. With the help of her husband, Ali Jaber, Suzanne ended up creating something new entirely: a moon tree.

Suzanne’s creation is shaped like a crescent moon — a symbol of Islam — and it’s covered in Christmas tree branches. Now, Suzanne makes moon trees for people all over the world, who are celebrating all types of holidays, including Ramadan.

In 2019, Suzanne and Ali came to StoryCorps to talk about what originally inspired Suzanne to make her first moon tree, the process of it all coming together, and what the month for Ramadan symbolizes for them.

Published on May 7, 2021. 

A Queens Family’s Tradition of Feeding Those in Need — 365 Days a Year

Since 2004, Jorge Muñoz has gathered with his family in their small kitchen in Queens, New York where they cook meals for those in need. Together, they’ve provided more than one hundred meals per day to day laborers, many of whom are undocumented immigrants, in the city.

They’ve kept up the tradition year-round for the last 16 years, providing approximately 500,000 meals — until May, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Using StoryCorps Connect, Jorge spoke with his sister, Luz, to remember the beginning of their journey, and how their mother inspired them to give to those in need.

Top Photo: Siblings Luz and Jorge Muñoz spoke about how their meal program began in their recent StoryCorps interview from their home in Queens, NY.

Middle Photo: The Muñoz family, (from left to right) Jorge, Justin, Blanca, and Luz, prepares meals from their kitchen in 2010.

Originally aired December 4, 2020, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

For The First Time In Nearly A Century, A Family Reunion Interrupted By A Pandemic

In 1801, Nancy Carter, who had been enslaved by George and Martha Washington, was one of 124 people to be freed. Afterwards, Nancy married her husband, Charles Quander, and together they raised a family.

In 1926, children and grand-children gathered for the first Quander family reunion — as a way to connect older generations with younger ones, honor their lineage, and preserve their family history. 

Every year since then, for nearly a century, the Quander family has been coming together, but in the midst of a global pandemic, as their 95th reunion was approaching, they were faced with a difficult decision. 

Speaking remotely through StoryCorps Connect, Rohulamin Quander and his cousin, Alicia Argrett, talked about reunions past, and how this year was different from the rest.

Top Photo: Rohulamin Quander at his home in Washington, D.C. in 2016 and Alicia Argrett in Madison, MS in 2010. Photos courtesy of Rohulamin Quander and Alicia Argrett.
Middle Photo: Members of the Quander family gather at Mount Vernon in 2010, in front of a slave cabin replica, at the 85th Family Reunion. Courtesy of Rohulamin Quander.
Bottom Photo: Georgie Quander, Tom Quander, Susannah Quander, and Sadie Quander Harris, 1926 Founders of the Quander Family Reunion.  Courtesy of Rohulamin Quander.

Originally aired August 7, 2020, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

‘You Are Both’: A Chicano Arts Historian Celebrates His Mexican American Heritage

Tomás Ybarra-Frausto grew up in the 1940s, just outside of San Antonio, Texas, on a ranch that belonged to his grandfather. He was raised in a bilingual family, but when Tomás started elementary school, he was told that he and his classmates could only speak English — not Spanish.

At StoryCorps, Tomás told his longtime friend Antonia how the land he grew up on, coupled with his family’s emphasis on language and culture, helped him appreciate his Mexican American heritage.

After spending more than two decades in New York, working as a Chicano arts historian, Tomás returned to his roots and settled back in San Antonio, Texas.

Top photo: Antonia Castañeda and Tomás Ybarra-Frausto at their StoryCorps interview in San Antonio, TX on March 23, 2012. By Anaid Reyes for StoryCorps.
Bottom photo: Tomás Ybarra-Frausto at his StoryCorps interview in San Antonio, TX on March 23, 2012. By Anaid Reyes for StoryCorps.

Originally aired July 31, 2020 on NPR’s Morning Edition.

“Amnesty Days:” One Father’s Made-Up Day of Forgiveness

There are many religious traditions that help people atone for doing something wrong. But in this StoryCorps conversation, we’ll hear from a dad who created his own method of repentance for his kids.

Vickie and Michael Feldstein grew up in Newton, Massachusetts in the late 1960s. As adults, they came to StoryCorps with their dad, Bernie Feldstein, to talk about what he called “Amnesty Days.”

Top photo: From left to right, the Feldstein family in 1983; Michael, Bernie, Barbara and Vickie in Newton, MA. Courtesy of the Feldstein family.

Originally aired October 11, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition.