In our family, there are several cultures and traditions that play a very important role in defining our family values and cultures. These traditions and cultures have been passed to our parents from our grandparents.
The two most vivid cultural patterns that are present in our family have been inherited by our parents from the blending of the culture from my maternal grandparents and my fraternal grandparents.
The cultural patterns
Every Sunday, our father always prepares supper for the family and he makes sure that we eat together as one family. This tradition has been there in our family for a long period and helps us to bond together as a family unit.
Every night on the eve of my birthday or that of my siblings, our parents usually sneaks into our bed room and fills it with balloons which are stuffed with money and toys. My father usually writes several bunches of poems and leaves the written poems on our table. When we wake up in the morning, our mother usually prepares for us a birthday morning cake which we enjoy together as a family as we read the bunch of poems.
Different roles in upholding the traditions
During our Sunday’s family dinner/supper, my parents dwells on teaching us on the way forward in regards to behaviour and especially the use of courteous words such as ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. They discourage talking when the mouth is full as well as placing of the elbows on the table. Also during this time, my parents taught us the developmental skills like literacy skills when story telling during family conversations. During these conversations, my parents would learn more on our attitudes and interests. From these meals, my parents gauge our moods and needs thus helping us solve our problems in the end. My parents oversee the family to ensure that everybody attends to maintain the unity and stability in the family.
The dinner table or birthday party is a significant place for socialization especially for the children. These act as prime setting for socialization regarding the norms and rules on values of the family and the acceptable behaviour. From the nutritional perspective, the children master what is considered acceptable; basically the foods and non-food materials.
From the family dinners and birthdays, my siblings and I have discovered manners and behaviour restraints that the wider world requires. Through conversations of the family during birthday parties and family dinner, we learned of our parents’ interests and attitudes in relations to the world. We always help our father to prepare for the family dinner on Sundays. As the eldest, I helped my father prepare the foods and especially the desert and vegetables while my other younger siblings have inevitably prepared the table.
As part of our tradition, the family meal is a symbol of a shared family life. On Sunday’s, family supper/dinner acts to bringing us together in the family. This greatly leads to our social well-being at the same time providing predictable structure to our Sundays which is often reassuring especially psychologically. In our family, everybody is involved in this activity and this applies to the buying of food, preparations of food done by my father, making and laying the table, and finally serving of food. With all this participation, it is not a surprise that the provision of this family meal is a classic demonstration that we love and care for our family stability and unity. From the initial stages of shopping to clearing the table, each member of the family participates in this exercise responsibly and this promotes family solidarity.
The Reflection on the Tradition
Though we have a happy family, we also experience our setbacks. At the end of the day, the members of the family who are already exhausted after a busy day at school or work and probably maybe irascible meet for a family meal or party. Hostility may arise perceived at the dinner/party table maybe because of the injustices and behaviour which is unacceptable. Refusal to eat, complaining about bad cooking or lack of appreciation on whatever served on the table are some of the things that can lead to these conflict at the dinning/party table. Therefore, family dinners and birthday parties have many positive virtues that are sometimes fought with strain and negative consequences which greatly depend on the styles of parenting.
As a socially combining role, when we share a meal during birthdays or Sunday dinner, it brings people together in a network of reciprocal commitments and shared social relationships.
As a tradition routine, Sunday family dinner prepared by my father has been most frequent planned ritual activity in our family which usually takes place in our family house.
The family meal and birthday parties in specific have come to represent the dynamics of the family and overtime generations are complaining on its downfall. In the times of change, family meals and parties represented solidity and perhaps the complaint of the lost family may in fact be the response to feared exchange in the arrangements and frameworks of families.
These family traditions still influence me to date. This is due to the fact that they provide a source of identity on top of strengthening the family bond. I believe that the families that engage in frequent traditional practices report stronger relationship and unity than families that haven’t accepted rituals together. I will carry my family traditions in future because I view them as a way of offering comfort and security. This is because our family beliefs and rituals are the cure to the feeling that comes from our world which is fast-paced and ever-changing.
It’s relieving to have a few constants in one’s life. Am also for the idea that these family traditions teach values and this is achieved by for instance through family stories where the value of education, life-long learning and reading is instilled; and through regular family dinners or parties, the centrality of familial togetherness is instilled. With all this in mind, I will definitely carry these traditions in the future.
Did you ever hear one of your kids say, "We always" when speaking of a family activity or event?
Kids love rituals of all types: bedtime rituals, Friday night pizza and movie nights, spending the night at Grandma's on Saturday night, and especially holiday rituals.
In fact, if you do something that kids like once, they often expect it to be a ritual that continues.
Rituals are an important part of childhood. Think back to your own childhood and the things you "always" did.
Your family probably took part in daily, weekly, annual, and holiday rituals. These are all a part of family life.
What is the difference between a regular daily routine and a family tradition?
All of the things your family does on a regular basis are part of the family's routine. This includes the normal daily activities like what you eat for breakfast, weekend activities like kids' sports or visiting relatives, and activities during the week like eating dinner together as a family.
Some regular parts of your day can also be family traditions. For example, if a part of your daily routine is eating breakfast together as a family, that is a family tradition.
What are family traditions?
- Practices and beliefs
- Create positive feelings
- Repeated regularly
- More than just routines
- Some are handed down from generation to generation
- Some are created within a single branch of the family
- Some are spiritual in nature
- Some are part of your cultural or ethnic heritage
Why should you have family traditions?
- Strengthen your family
- Create a connection between family members
- Links you to other generations in the family
- Creates a feeling of closeness and togetherness
- Allows the family to spend special time together
- Gives kids a sense of belonging and identity
What kinds of family traditions are there?
Day-to-day family interactions include
- Dinner time rituals like sharing the best part of your day
- Bed time rituals like reading a book and saying prayers
- Weekend morning rituals like watching Saturday cartoons
Family traditions specific to your family may include
- Church on Sundays followed by lunch at a favorite restaurant
- Vacations to Myrtle Beach or the Outer Banks
- Weekly or monthly family meetings
- Pizza nights every Friday
- Visiting out-of-town relatives over summer vacation
Celebration traditions involve special events
- How and where birthdays are celebrated
- Where holidays are spent and with whom
- How anniversaries are celebrated
Some extended family traditions
- Vacationing together
- Sunday dinner at Grandma's
- Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving dinners
Think of a family like a bank account. You make deposits of time and energy to the family bank to create a strong family. Family members withdraw what they need from the family bank during difficult times.
Family traditions are one of the types of deposits available to the family bank.
Changes to family traditions
Family traditions almost always change when parents divorce. Due to changes in where kids live and how they spend holidays and birthdays, traditions may change a little or a lot.
Some family traditions change over the years as your children get older. Good examples of changes due to older kids are bedtime stories and family movie nights.
Other traditions change as your children grow up and have families of their own. Opening gifts on Christmas morning and Easter morning egg hunts will take place at your grown children's houses instead of taking place at your house.
Sometimes families review long-standing traditions and decide that one or more no longer fit their lifestyle.
It's a good idea to talk as a family about any traditions that you feel may need to change. Weigh everyone's input and the reasons for the changes to make a decision.
You may be surprised how much you and your kids are attached to long-standing traditions. If one family member really wants to keep a tradition, it's best not to change the tradition if practical.
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