Are the traditions with which we were reared important?
From my perspective, in a word: yes.
It is somewhat ironic, however, as when folks think about all the varied holidays many of us cannot even remember the true meaning. Memorial Day, for example, which was originally created to honor our fallen soldier and defenders of our freedom, now marks the beginning of summer. Yet, other holidays, such as Thanksgiving, may have more clear memories of the historical significance and importance to our lives.
So, the questions is- why do traditions matter? Four thoughts to consider and savor:
- Traditions – whether they be holidays or any repetitive traditional activity which we embrace – represent our culture and from where we come. They represent our past, serve as the foundation on which we were reared, and most certainly factor into who we are today and who we may become in the future.
- They help provide security, and a sense of belonging. There is nothing more comforting than to arrive home for the holidays and have the familiar sights, smells, and tastes greeting us. Even when we have lost loved ones, there is something peaceful about the traditional dish at Thanksgiving, the family china gracing the table, or even the sounds of a crackling fire in the fireplace. I will never listen to Kenny Loggins, “Celebrate Me Home”, without a twinge of nostalgia and gratitude for those warm, lively, and love-filled nights over the holidays.
- Traditions give us the ability to create life-long, enriching memories. Having lost both my parents in the past 18 months, this holiday season will be difficult, at best. Yet, how grateful I am to have had the decades of special memories with my family. That, and my Faith, will undoubtedly be what supports me through this ‘new reality’.
- Finally, as we navigate the holidays, our traditions will give us a beautiful mirror in which to look, pause, and reflect. Gratitude for the gifts of our lives – which come in many forms – is the elixir of life. So, as we embark on this holiday season – and all the traditions which the season holds – may we be grateful for the good, the challenging, the happy, the sad, the new, and the old…..all contribute to our lives and our continuous path toward evolution and growth.