We’re in that part of the year when people all over the world are celebrating lots of different traditions: Halloween, Diwali, Eid and Dia de los Muertos to mention a few. Of course I have to include my favourite since moving to England: Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Night. I don’t know any other nation that celebrates an attempt to blow up their parliament – fittingly with stunning fireworks of course!
What I want to bring up today are however the smaller traditions and rituals that can be found within a family and how important they are, especially in a family with influences from many cultures. If parents come from different cultural backgrounds it is not always easy to combine and or uphold old family traditions. Also, if you have moved from one country to another – it is not straightforward to be able to retain the traditions you had in your home country – unless you happen to live in a community of expats.
Every family can, and should, however create their own new traditions in addition to any old ones. Having family traditions creates a strong bond between family members and contributes to a family identity. They can also offer comfort and security in an ever changing fast-paced world. Daily rituals can teach values. When you make it a habit to read a bedtime story to your son each night, he will appreciate the importance of reading and being together. Always saying “Good morning!” emphasises politeness and caring for each other.
When we are together or if we speak with each other late at night, my daughters and I wish each other “Good night, sleep well, sweet dreams!” in Swedish (“God natt, sov gott, fina drömmar!”) – a phrase that makes me feel really close to them even if they are hundreds of miles away. Another thing we do is to say “Bless you!” each time when anyone sneezes. Did you know that the reason for the saying stems from the medieval belief that your soul momentarily leaves your body when you sneeze and the blessing is to fend of any evil spirits? 🙂
You may already have quite a few of these although you haven’t thought of them as traditions: taking pictures on birthdays or first day at school, baking cakes on special occasions, particular foods on certain days, visiting places, playing games on certain weekdays – the list goes on. What traditions or rituals do you have in your family?
May the peace and power be with you.
© Rita Rosenback 2013