Traditions are prominent worldwide. Countries have traditions. Cultures have traditions. Religions have traditions. And so do families. They have these little customs that belong only to them. They celebrate them once a year or even once a month, although some of them only happen when a special occasion calls for it. A family tradition represents the heart of each family. It is the culmination of all their beliefs. Seven people (three of my Twitter friends, a friend of a friend, my two best friends, and my girlfriend) share with the world a glimpse into their families below.
New Year’s Treats
Mariana’s family tradition happens during New Year’s Eve when her brother comes home from Buenos Aires. Her entire family gets together and every member brings a dish they enjoy to share with everyone else. She said that food is involved in other family traditions as well, like the annual birthday lunch she has with her dad.
Traditions to prevent jealousy
Alex shared his family tradition of gifts: “We have quite a few [traditions], starting when my goddaughter was born. My grandpa made sure that her older brother would have a gift on her birthday and she on his, so they were never jealous of one another.” Even though they are older now, Alex says the tradition continues. “We’ve even passed this tradition on to friends of the family that have multiple children.” Alex continues, “it’s something that has helped cut down on jealous siblings and hurt feelings at birthday parties since we have such a large family filled with lots of little cousins with siblings. Even now that my grandpa has passed away, we continue the tradition.”
Monthly catch up
Carolina told me that her and her parents’ schedule is very busy and they hardly see each other. Because of this, they started a monthly tradition to catch up. They sit outside in their backyard with drinks and food while they share everything they experienced that month. Her favorite part is that they always end up talking about their childhood memories and family members she doesn’t remember or didn’t get to meet. For Carolina, this family tradition helps her connect with her parents and keep family memories alive.
Deidre’s family tradition gets every family member cooking: “My family carries a secret recipe for sauté, the easiest way to explain it is a resemblance to kabob. However, it’s not! When anything major (a wedding, a birth, a graduation) happens, my Oma [grandma] pulls out this giant bowl and we cut up around 25-40 lbs of pork and we begin the marinate. The process of this takes anywhere from four to five days before we stick the meat on grill. A couple of my cousins are on cut duty, which then my Oma and an uncle take care of by marinating.” Deidre explains that once everything is mixed, she usually helps her Opa [grandpa], and her cousin get the meat set throughout the next four to five days to ensure the recipe is exactly what it needs to be for the grilling. “On day five,” Deidre says, “we have a “sticking party”, where a huge group of the younger kids come in and stick the meat and then we pour the rest of the marinate and wait one more day. The day of the grilling, my dad makes a nasi goreng [fried rice] and peanut sauce to pour over the stick once grilled. Once this is all done, the entire family comes in and we all eat and hang out and share laughs. It seems small, but once anyone announces anything happening, every family member knows their role in ensuring this food is taken care of.”
Thinking about this topic, Belén realized a lot of traditions had stopped when her family moved from Spain to Mexico. However, she said one tradition they still have is related to birthdays. On their birthdays, they get to choose what meal her mom cooks or where to go for lunch or dinner. The birthday person also chooses the cake or dessert, even if the rest of the family hates it!
When I asked Nicole about her family traditions, she asked if it should be starting at her parents or older than that. I said it could be anything, and her answer made me hungry: “One of my family’s traditions is that whenever the extended family on my mom’s side gets all together, we bake my great-grandmother’s butter biscuits for everyone. The recipe has been passed from generation to generation. I think my grandma’s great-grandmother invented it originally.”
Rissa talked to me about her annual family cookout: “Every year, my family gets together in or around the month of August and goes to Lynch Park [Beverly, MA, USA] for a family reunion. Lynch Park is the best place for us to go, because there we have two beaches, two playgrounds, an enormous field, and a stage that’s used for public events. My cousin and I love this reunion, because we have our one favorite tree that we climb, since it’s low to the ground and the branches are fat enough to sit comfortably on. All of us bring a different type of food, like steaks or chickens or salads or fruit bowls, and we play games like water balloon tosses, frisbee, scavenger hunts, and bean bag toss.”
Hearing about so many traditions made me think about everyone my family and I have. We all create our little customs to stay connected, to keep on living even when we lose loved ones. Traditions are the red string that connects family members.
Lara was born in Argentina on Christmas; raised there and in Mexico. She graduated university with a BA in Latin American Literature and then moved to America where she currently lives with her girlfriend and cat. She works at a daycare as an Infant Teacher and during her free time you’ll find her reading or watching several TV shows while drinking diet coke.