The Importance of Family Traditions
The holiday season is upon us, which means festive celebrations with family and friends!
Are you looking forward to something in particular? Maybe a dessert made only during the holidays? Or a card game your family has played after the dinner meal for decades?
Family traditions, such as sharing stories, yummy secret recipes, beliefs, and other rituals from one generation to the next, form a strong lifelong bond.
The big question – why are family traditions important?
Consider these five reasons:
A SENSE OF BELONGING
Every holiday season, when you look around the room or dinner table, who do you see? Your family – the most important people in your life.
- Since your birth, they have loved you and raised you in your family’s traditions and rituals.
- They have shown that you are an essential part of their lives through their actions and inclusion and that you belong.
- The need to be a part of something greater than one’s self is inherently human. Gathering and celebrating with your family makes one feel a sense of belonging.
- Generations coming together as one builds stronger relationships, connects the past with the present, and fosters a family’s love for each other.
CREATE POSITIVE MEMORIES
Do you remember the toy you received on your eighth birthday? Or the gift you were given at Christmas the year you turned ten? Probably not. But you most likely remember how you and your cousins always dressed the dog in appropriate holiday-wear. Or how you counted the number of cookies your aunt slipped into her purse.
Year after year, the house is filled with laughter and love, creating lasting memories – and that consistency is important. A tradition doesn’t need to be extravagant.
- It can be as simple as sitting in the kitchen, surrounded by your family, fighting over who gets to lick the spoon.
- The entire family choosing a wrapped gift from the grab bag then bartering for the coolest pair of socks (it’s always socks.)
Excitement abounds around introducing a new member of the family (spouse, baby, etc.) to traditions passed along through the years.
Gathering together the different generations not only makes for a fabulous family photo, but is also a time to pass along family history and rituals.
- What are the family origins?
- What football team must they always root for?
The cross-generation relationships between aunts and uncles, cousins, parents, and grandparents provide different perspectives on life.
Being surrounded by family members who share the same values, morals, and ethics makes you feel a greater sense of belonging. Sitting around a table and sharing what you’re thankful for, teaches and reinforces the ‘code’ the family lives by.
Family traditions don’t need to center around a holiday. They can be simple affairs.
- Spending Sunday enjoying a dinner of baked chicken at grandma’s house.
- Playing the annual family softball game, the second weekend in June.
Or they can be the sharing of significant cultural and religious beliefs.
- Most families tend to gather together and celebrate during November and December (aka the holiday season)
- Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights.
- Christians celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th.
- Kwanzaa (“first fruits”) honors African heritage in African-American culture.
- Omisoka, New Year’s Eve, is celebrated in Japan to mark the passage from one year to the next. NYE celebrations are now worldwide.
Whether the tradition is big or small, secular or religious, mundane or exciting, bringing generations together strengthens the love between family. And that has no comparison.