On my mom’s side of the family, we have an unusual birthday tradition.
In celebration of the day you were born, we will ambush you and butter your nose. We don’t know how it got started or why, but we dutifully keep it alive. Our family is spread wide across several states and deep through four generations, and still we butter noses.
As a child, it was fun and games. As a teenager, I mostly worried about being seen. As an adult, it always takes me by surprise. When asked, no one had an explanation for why. We just enjoy the riotous laughter that it provokes. A quick search on the internet ties this tradition to Appalachians, or Canadians, or Irishman,depending on which article you read. No one really knows. Most claim it was for good luck. Apparently, the unlucky forces slide right past you to insure a good year.
If there was ever a family that didn’t believe in luck, it would be mine. It’s comical to discover we participate in something that is connected to warding off bad luck. Not all traditions have lost their real purpose but many have.
Over a weekend in October, I enjoyed the rare privilege of gathering with a couple of hundred women who’s intent was simply to inspire, unite, engage and energize each other. It was powerful just to be in the midst of such support, training, and generosity. Each woman believing in the others around them. Each sharing their unique perspective and experience with those who had a different perspective — all with the desire to understand and be understood.
A very successful, savvy woman stood before a small group of ladies and said she had never been celebrated until that weekend — a moment I will never forget. Her success had never been enjoyed, encouraged, applauded by other women. As frequent as it happens, you might think women were bound by tradition to tear down other women. Plaid for Women is an organization that is leading the charge to establish a tradition of promoting women who support and celebrate other women. That’s a custom or belief that’s worth transmitting from generation to generation. Grab the butter.