Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Traditions. Sometimes we think we don’t have any. There’s nothing we do that our ancestors did. Our lives are quite different today and we go our own way.
However, there are things that become a tradition and we don’t even realize it. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when I posted the pictures of me at the North Pole. It was just a place that my parents took me when I was a child. It is a tourist attraction in Jay, New York in the Adirondacks. They figured it would be a fun thing to take the kid to and keep her entertained one weekend when they were camping in the area. Or, that’s what I thought.
After posting the pictures, I heard about it from my older brother. He and our other brother were taken there when they were children, many years before I was born. His daughter remembered pictures from her childhood that were probably taken there. Another niece, a daughter of my other brother, remembered being there as a child. It has become a tradition in our family to take the kids to the North Pole when they are young to visit with Santa Claus. As it first opened in 1949, the previous generation obviously didn’t go there as children. However, my parents started what has now become this tradition that probably none of us thought about as such until this last month.
What other things are traditions and we’ve never realized it? There are things that we do automatically and don’t think about it. If we are questioned, we might respond that we do this because that is the way it has always been done. There might be a reason behind the beginning of doing something, but then again there might not.
I have heard many times in recent years the story about a new bride that cuts the ends off the roast and putting them in the edge of the roaster beside the larger cut before she puts it in the oven. Her husband asks her why and she doesn’t know other than that’s the way her mother always did it. Her mother doesn’t know either, her mother had always done that. Upon asking the grandmother about it, she replies: “Oh, I started doing that when I was newly married and the roast wouldn’t fit in the roasting pan I had. I guess I just got in the habit of doing it.” Whether this story is true or not, I really have no idea, however, it is often in this simple way of repeated events that traditions get started.
As you write about your family stories. You are writing them down right? Start thinking about these traditions. Not the obvious ones that are referred to as TRADITION in your family, but the little unnoticed things that are done over and over again. Where might they have originated? If there are older members of your family around, ask them what they remember about it. Perhaps there is some event that is written in the newspaper that might shed some light on how something got started. Whether you can find the origin or not, right these things down. People in the future will enjoy hearing the stories and might even discover from you a little history on their own traditions that they didn’t realize they had!