Almanac Articles

Why Traditions Matter


In our family, we enjoy a lot of traditions. They are a great way to bring people together and have fun. There are so many ways of celebrating or practicing traditions. One tradition my son and I have is visiting a local amusement park monthly during the summer and staying at the same hotel, going to our favorite stores and eating at our favorite restaurants. He loves doing this, and we call it our Lagoon tradition (cue the “Tradition” number from Fiddler on the Roof). We even sing this song on our trips!

Several years ago, my sister visited on St Patrick's Day and helped my son build a leprechaun trap. This is one of his favorite things, and we have created an entire story around Larry the Leprechaun. He is our own leprechaun who comes out on St Patrick's Eve and lives the rest of the year under a tree in the backyard. This may seem frivolous to some, but to see the joy and excitement my son expresses while devising the trap is so worth it. They grow up so fast that to have these times to enjoy the magic is priceless. Of course, Larry always gets away but leaves us a pail of chocolate gold coins as compensation for “almost” catching him.

We have many Christmas traditions in our extended family. We gathered around the piano and sang carols on Christmas Eve. My dad loves to read a story called the Fourth Wise Man, and before opening presents, we had to line up by age and head to the tree while dad filmed. He has continued to do this with the grandkids, although we have graduated from the super 8 movie camera to something much better. My brother's birthday is Christmas Eve, and our mom always made homemade donuts or cinnamon rolls for him, which were amazing! Our family incorporates many foods for our holiday and family meals too. We love Yorkshire pudding with raspberry vinegar and homemade orange rolls, as well as sweet chili sauce on roast beef, both to die for!

My all-time favorite tradition is gathering together over Memorial weekend. I get the chance to see and interact with people who mean so much to me. Sometimes it's a few aunts and uncles, and many wonderful cousins often come. We visit family graves and leave flowers. More importantly, we cherish and enjoy the time we get to spend with each other. My mom grew up in a little town called Downey, Idaho. My aunt still lives there on the property that played such a huge role in our lives. It's always a special treat to visit her and take my son to stay in the old house so he can share in those memories and create new ones.

The most significant importance of traditions is their ability to bring people together. Whether they are religious, cultural, or family-based traditions, all are ways we remember those who came before us and helped us navigate life.

Traditions can be important for many reasons. First, tradition can provide a sense of identity. Second, cultural traditions allow children a chance to learn more about where their family comes from, different customs and beliefs that can be passed onto future generations. Traditions can also teach morals and values, through religious or familial teachings.

Listening to stories told by grandparents or other family members can connect you to the past and help envision their lives and where you have come from. Hearing their stories of growing up during the Depression and war makes you appreciate how much more convenient life is now.

Whether you make your traditions or follow ones passed down through the years, it's a great way to connect with others and keep cultural and family history alive. It's essential to use the ones you find the most meaning in and incorporate values from your cultural and religious history to remember and celebrate where and who we came from. This enables us to enjoy each other as much as possible.

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