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What Does Tradition Stand For? - Is tradition important anymore?


TRADITION. I could write a book about it. First, however, let's try to summarize what is important. Cynthia for Ohin wrote me a couple of weeks back because she was upset with the way their family has not been honoring tradition. I found that after doing some research, one of which was a Twitter poll, I was amazed that out of over 5,000 voters, almost 70% of them were discontented that due to family dynamics changes, certain traditions became lost.

I am big on tradition. Not because I am Italian because every race, color, creed, and faith have their own traditions. By definition, courtesy of Merriam-Webster, tradition is defined as the following:

1 a. - an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (such as a religious practice or a social custom)

b. - a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable

2 - the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction

3 - cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions

4 - characteristic manner, method, or style

Basically, for this post, I am referring to things we pass down from generation to generation. Although, tradition has other meanings and is used in different contexts. For example. Let's say you are at work, and you have a better idea of how to get something done. So you go to the boss and make your suggestion. It happens to be more efficient and would save time and money. YOur boss replies, and by the way, when I worked in the corporate world, I heard this reply NUMEROUS times.

"Traditionally, we have been doing things this way for years, and it works. I see no reason to change it."

Well, besides the fact that you just realized you are working for a closed-minded fool, and certainly not a good manager, it shows that tradition can and at times should and could be changed.


Tradition, as we are talking about it, is passed on from you to others, especially within your family. It could be how you celebrate holidays, a mother passing her recipes down to her children, and more. With that said, every person and family has the choice and right to either set or honor their traditions. Although, family traditions don't usually change until the dynamics of the family change.

Meaning, children move away, someone such as a parent(s) or grandparents pass away. Other factors also enter into the picture when we have mixed marriages. Not only of color but same-sex marriages, different cultures or religions, etc. Now it is no longer about only your family traditions. Often this causes conflicts. Trust me, I know. My grandparents came over from Italy. They were strict Italians. My parents were slightly more Italian, but my mother, R.I.P., was set in her ways. Especially on the holidays. She didn't care who came over to eat. However, she was cooking and the holiday was at her house. NO NEGOTIATIONS.

Moving onto my generation, my sister and I were much easier and understanding, especially with our children. At my mother's, it was Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at her house. PERIOD. My inlaws were invited but rarely came because they had their traditions. To keep the peace, for years, my ex-wife and I would have to double visit on every holiday. Talk about having a full stomach. But to be fair, my ex-wife was a gem when it came to being an understanding person, and so were her parents. They were Irish. After a couple of years of dragging three babies all over the place, my inlaws just said, do what you need to do. Just stop by to visit; you don't have to stay for dinner.

Man, did I get lucky? You bet I did, but not after a few years of going crazy and trying to keep everyone happy. Remembering everything I went through, I did not want to put my kids through that. As my children got older and starting dating, and eventually got married, I insisted we honor our family traditions. However, with on important cavitate. I would tell them to do Christmas Eve with us and Christmas day with their significant other's family, and we would alternate other holidays such as Easter and Thanksgiving and switch the following year. That created peace in our world.

Tradition cannot be one-sided when there are other people involved. So eventually, over time, and people passed on, we merged all the families on the holidays. Which I particularly enjoyed.