Why Are Family Traditions and Rituals So Important to All Ages?
This weekend my nine year old son asked me if I would still be the Easter Bunny, even though he doesn’t believe in the Easter Bunny anymore and knows it’s me! Our tradition has always been to hide plastic eggs (with each child’s initial on the outside) and place a mini chocolate egg inside each plastic egg. Whether we are outside or inside, both our children have always enjoyed going on an Easter Egg hunt. Even though our daughter is now twelve, I know that although she’ll play-along for the sake of her brother, she too will have fun keeping the tradition going this year!
What If We Don’t Celebrate Any Unique Cultural Traditions or Religious Activities?
No matter what one’s cultural, religious or non-religous beliefs are, we all create rituals and traditions and sometimes without realizing it! You may have a special “good night” routine, or a favourite breakfast that you make for the family on weekends. Perhaps you use an old family recipe which has been passed down through the generations. Raking leaves in the fall, and building a snowman in the winter are all examples of spontaneous traditions which become a form of ritual year after year. Going away on an annual holiday to the same vacation spot is another form of ritual. The non-religious definition of a ritual is an action that becomes a habit. Another way to think of a ritual is anything that is repeated with loving intentions.
Why Are Traditions and Rituals So Significant to Us?
- Rituals and traditions provide us with closeness and connection (our attention tends to be less-distracted and more focussed on the activity and family members during a ritual)
- Rituals are part of a family’s “fabric” – they hold us together
- Rituals and traditions often create laughter and bonding moments
- We prioritize rituals and traditions and this ensures that we are committing to quality togetherness time
- Rituals and traditions are repeated year after year which brings a comforting feeling of belonging, predictability, as well as a sense of wonder and a feeling of celebration
- Rituals and traditions fill up the “emotional family bank account” with deposits, in order that the family can weather the tough times together
- Traditions on special days of the year help us to adapt to changes, such as the first snowfall, the first day of school, going away to summer camp etc.
- Rituals and traditions reinforce family values and the love between one another
New traditions can always be created! Experiment and if it’s a success, repeat! Family meetings can also be a family bonding tradition. I would love to hear about your family’s traditions and rituals in the comments below.
For those of you celebrate Easter in some way, Happy Easter! For others, happy extended family weekend!
I know my twelve year old will soon decline to participate in our Easter Egg hunt so I will treasure each year that it still happens!
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