Is that a tradition?

I guess, everyone have attached different meaning to the word ‘tradition’. For me, it was a long battle to unchain myself from my family tradition. I grow up with moderately traditional extended family. Some rules in our family are rules and others are common sense. I put them in a box called ‘tradition’.

Since I was a kid, I had these phrases followed me: “Being a good girl you should…”, “being a good child you should…”, “being a good daughter you need to…” and so on. I heard that my brother had his own sets who happened to be the first grandson to my paternal grandparents.

Because my father study abroad for eight years, we hardly spent long time with my paternal grandparents. When we moved closer to them, this is where I started to realise the heavy chain of tradition that my parents and my family were wearing.

For example, once upon a time, everyday we had to gather around for afternoon tea with grandparents. Everyone are expected to sit around the table and have a slow afternoon chats for about 2 hours. We, as children, are expected to join the table as well. However, we weren’t allowed to join the conversation with adults nor talk among ourselves. We were permitted to sit with them and listen to boring conversation. We can talk only when we were asked to. Our job was to filling the tea cups around because that’s what a ‘good child’ should do.

Often, it is tied to family tradition.

Jack Dolan

Tradition is a prison with majority opinion the modern jailer.

Henry S. Haskins

Recently, I had a very interesting talk with my father. His birthday was coming up and he invited us for a lunch that he wants to prepare. This was a fine part. Suddenly, he wanted to celebrate his birthday based on the lunar year.
Me: Wasn’t your birthday on 20th Aug?
Father: Yes. that’s western calendar. My birthday is 17th July based on lunar year. This year, it happened to be 17th Aug on the western calendar.
Me: Oh okay. I thought you might want to go out for family lunch together.
Father: I want to cook traditional meals that we used to cook to celebrate birthdays. Traditionally, as a daughter, you should cook and bring it back home for me. And, your brother, as a son, should bring back the traditional sweet that was to celebrate birthday too.
Me: Oh. Okay. I didn’t know that.
Father: I know. It’s okay. I will cook it myself.
Me: I can buy the ingredients for you to cook.
Father: It’s okay. I can buy it myself.

Alright. Here. This conversation fascinated me a lot. First, he never used to celebrate his birthday based on the lunar year because now one can track back when. Second, he never used to sog about we didn’t celebrate his birthday in that traditional way.

At first, I felt sorry that I didn’t learn the tradition and do as he hoped. Then, I thought, ‘wait, there’s something more here. Why he suddenly started all this tradition thing?’ I guess what happened was that his health deteriorated dramatically within a year and probably for the first time he realised an end to his life. As a father, he felt that he had to leave something for us and for him that was family tradition.

When I was young, we moved around places where keeping family tradition was not easy. My parents had to modify their known tradition to fit into the changing life. Different way of making traditional meals, and different ways to celebrate birthdays. Our family tradition changed over time to fit into our changing life.

Your traditions change from when you a child to when you become an adult.

Katharine McPhee

I am not denying the beauty of traditions. I love traditions that associated with food. I am more curious about meanings and reasons behind those traditions. Why do we eat moon cake around moon festivals? Why we have different tradition for Christmas dinners? However, tradition may also have perspectives that prevent me from growth. I think tradition becomes a tradition when next generation are willing to continue with it.

I believe in traditions; I believe in the idea of things being passed between generations and the slow transmission of cultural values through tradition.

Graham Moore

What does tradition mean to you?
Do you have any family tradition that you would like to pass on to next generation?
What are the perspectives you attached to the word ‘tradition’?

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