Lately, I've been thinking a lot about traditions. Not the "let's stop at the same taco stand every time we go to the Merry-go-round" type of family tradition, but the real generation-to-generation passing on of customs and rituals.
I know that there are people out there who have family traditions that go back countless generations. This is not the case for me. In the past three generations, life for our family has changed so greatly that now we find ourselves raising children in a completely different environment with different nationalities, opportunities, occupations, religions and pastimes than our grandparents. Even the weather is different. Our grandparents are all gone, and many of the family traditions of their childhoods have been forgotten.
What is the value of these traditions anyway? I'm not being rhetorical! Do they tie us to the foggy past, giving us a sense of the smallness of our place in time? Do they connect us with our ancestors in a deeply meaningful way? It is easy to romanticize them, but are there really some great forgotten traditions, or has it been like this for our families throughout history, each generation wondering about and trying to interpret some almost-forgotten rituals of the past?
Because I either don't know about or don't feel very connected to many of the traditions of our families' past, I find myself, in a position to pick and choose or invent the customs of my own home. It will be up to the next generation to determine if these customs become true family traditions.