Family traditions are a call back to childhood, home, and safety. The right tradition can bring you together regularly.
What cake you have on your birthday, the song played at a wedding, or whether you vacation at the beach or mountains, all echo a family’s approach to the world. Sometimes, we embrace tradition. Other times, we buck it, but it is a touchpoint for identity.
Family traditions rarely arrive out of thin air. Many have been passed down for generations. That doesn’t mean they were consciously selected. Occasionally, you discover your children have continued with something you chose to do and, voilà, a family tradition is born.
Here are a few examples of family traditions reflected through books.
EVEN SMALL MOMENTS CAN MATTER Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
I just love visiting farmers’ markets. I continually learn things that surprise me; for instance, how Brussels sprouts grow. I never suspected they grew on a two to three-foot stalk with axillary buds that become the sprout we eat. Of course, finding them like that, I had to buy some and experiment.
Certainly, I’d had Brussels sprouts before, served in any number of uninspiring ways. I suppose I’d thought they grew like tiny, little cabbages. Seeing them on the stalk, though, made them fun. Brian and I had our kids pick out the best stalk, and we took it home. From this excursion grew a family tradition.
I had my kids pull the sprouts from the stalk. The kids removed the outer leaves while I trimmed them, and we laughed about how they looked like baby cabbages.
When people hear the term Dumb Supper they laugh, but it’s been a part of my family fall tradition for many years. The term Dumb Supper doesn’t refer to a stupid meal, but rather an evening meal in which you honor those who have passed on.
In some cultures, it’s used to the call spirits of the dead to eat with you, but since my family has members of different faiths—those who believe in spirits and those who think it’s a load of malarkey—we use it as a way to remember those who have died in our family.
From Grandma’s smelts and baccala (dried and salted cod), to earlier Italian immigrants buying seafood at the bait shop, many Italian American millennials have heard horror stories of Feasts of the Seven Fishes.
This annual Christmas Eve tradition, born out of old Catholic rules regarding not eating meat on holy days, can seem like a chore for today’s busy holiday season. Who has the time to cook seven different types of fish in one night? Many on-the-go families don’t sit down for such multi-course dining on Christmas Eve. Also, between kids who may not like fish, seafood allergies, vegetarian specialties, and dietary restrictions, why prepare what your holly jolly guests may not even eat? With increasingly casual December celebrations and a packed holiday calendar, there’s little time or twenty-first century inclination to honor old world traditions like the Feast of the Seven Fishes.
Or is there?
Marrying a non-Italian meant if I wanted to introduce my family traditions into my own household, liberties on the Feast of the Seven Fishes had to be taken. How can Italian homemakers and Italian food lovers alike incorporate these holiday foods for contemporary, fast-paced, picky eaters? Here are a few new ways… Continue reading in SEARCH Magazine’s Fall 2020 issue.
When events disrupt our routine, we’re left struggling to maintain our weight, stay healthy, and meet fitness goals. For example, during the Covid19 pandemic, gyms closed to keep people safe. While necessary, these changes left people searching for new ways to incorporate fitness into their daily lives.
First, consider what you want to accomplish. If it’s weight control, the most significant contributor is to control your diet, ensuring you consume the proper number of calories compared to what you burn. Try not to lose weight too quickly, which can be unhealthy. Sometimes all it takes is an accurate scale and small dietary changes to gradually gain or take-off weight.
Engagement is a significant part of a Punjabi wedding. First, the girl is draped with a chunni (very decorative dupatta ), which is usually very ornate. In some families this chunni is a family heirloom, passed down from generation to generation. She is also presented with jewelry, which her mother and sister-in-law help her wear. A tiny dot of henna paste (mehndi) is applied to her palm…
Montezuma Castle is located near Camp Verde roughly in the middle of Arizona.
In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt designated Montezuma Castle as one of the first four national monuments, describing them as “of the greatest ethnological value and scientific interest.” Because of looting, there were few artifacts left to study the Sinagua people until 1933 when Castle A was discovered with a wealth of artifacts left by the people who lived there six hundred years ago….Continue reading in SEARCH Magazine’s Fall 2020 issue.
Location: San Francisco, California, United States
How are you involved in Search Magazine? I started off as an author for the magazine a few years ago. I still contribute articles but I am also the packaging manager for the magazine. I’m the one that sends you your physical copy of the periodical. I’m happy to be involved with Search Magazine on multiple levels.
What else do you write? I mainly write emails and texts, lol. Seriously, aside from articles and journal entries, I write occasional horror book reviews. Tell us about yourself. I am a lifetime bay area native. I attended San Francisco State University and got my B.A. in Philosophy and Religion. I love… Continue reading in SEARCH Magazine’s Fall 2020 issue.
Apparently, it’s time to discuss Family Traditions here at SEARCH Magazine.
While my family members are all wonderful people, there’s not much I can say about our traditions without one or more of them getting a wee bit upset that I’ve aired our emotional laundry in public. It’s my job in this column to bring you the smiles and laughs, unfortunately there aren’t a lot of laughs to be had in the traditions of a family who should probably keep a team of therapists on retainer. That said, there is one tradition I inherited both from my maternal grandfather and my father, who died two months apart in 1982 and 1983, and that is the spinning of tails and the fabricating of fictions. In the grand tradition of those good men, I shall spin you a story about my life, and our–not at all true–family traditions.
Family traditions have happened for as long as families have existed. We learn a view of how things should be done, and what we learn in childhood often has a profound effect. Our expectations are set for what it means to celebrate a holiday, take a vacation, and even eat a meal.
As we grow older, we might question the ways things were done. The fading effect of the great depression or the increase in digital photography encourages us to move in new directions. There are fewer photo albums but more Facebook pages, and don’t they sometimes serve the same purpose? Do we still need our kids to clean their plate when calories are cheap and plentiful? Instead, we can teach about healthy eating and balanced meals, as obesity becomes the new problem of our time.
Yet, family traditions are more and less than the sum of these things. They provide comfort and connection. They can be an excuse to get together, a shared language, and a way to return to better times. Family traditions call you back to childhood, home, and safety. Sometimes we embrace tradition, other times we buck it, but it is a touchpoint for identity.
Whether you’re setting up a household of your own, combining households, or introducing children and grandchildren, family traditions must be negotiated and created. They sometimes happen spontaneously, like the books each generation reads to their children at bedtime. Other times, they’re considered and well thought out, like how to celebrate major holidays. Either way, they give us sometime to return to. When life is uncertain, tradition remains. As sure as the sun will rise, we will celebrate another year and another birthday with our family’s version of a perfect, traditional, birthday cake.