November 4, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Jasen Obermeyer

Traditions are one of the oldest foundations of sociocultural groups.

But why do we love and value traditions so much? They certainly provide structure and a semblance of normality and order to our hectic, unpredictable lives. They give us something to look forward to. And most importantly, they’re fun.

Traditions vary between cultures, ethnic groups, and countries. However big or small, from a household, to a school, or a community, traditions are very important to those who celebrate them. Whether it’s gatherings for the holidays, a certain day of the week is pizza night, or movie night every weekend, traditions create wonderful bonding experiences and memories. Doing something special that only you and that person or group have.

I absolutely love traditions.

Growing up, every March break we spent a day at my Nonna’s brother’s place in Richmond Hill. My parents dropped us off early morning, and it was just my siblings and I enjoying the day with our cousin’s. For lunch we’d order Pizza Nova and wings. By dinner time, my parents joined and we’d have a big Italian dinner. Then spend the evening sitting around talking, before heading home. It was always special because it was a fun day just spending it with some extended family.

Every summer for Canada Day we had my dad’s side of the family over. Since we hardly see them through the year, it was a big deal, and something I enjoyed every second of. A big barbecue, catching up, enjoying the nice weather. And capping off with a wonderful firework show. A great way to welcome summer and a much-needed vacation.

For several years, we’ve always made an effort to have that family of ours from Richmond Hill over to our place for the summer. Spend the day outside, eat some lunch, then hit some golf balls into our backyard for the afternoon, before swimming in the pool. Then a big dinner, and ending it with a nice fire.

Thanksgiving is a simpler tradition. We have my Mom’s brother and his kids over, and dinner with all the fixings; turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, and pie and ice cream for dessert.

We’ve never really been big on Halloween, but recently on every October 31st, we watch Hocus Pocus.

Christmas is definitely the biggest one, and my absolute favourite.

Going to get the same type of tree (Balsam Fir) decorating it Saturday to begin the Christmas season. During that time, we have our set list of movies and T.V specials to watch, and walking through Christmas in the Park here in Orangeville. Christmas Eve is going to church, coming back for dinner with the main attraction being fish. Then it’s watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation before going to bed.

For a while, we’d have my mom’s family over either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day – with a big turkey dinner – then alternate hosting my dad’s family or seeing them in Toronto for Boxing Day.

As life goes on and you reach various milestones, new traditions are added.

During high school, after the end of every year on the last day of exams, I’d walk to DQ, get a double cheese burger combo and a blizzard, for lunch. A nice pat on the back for making it through the year.

I continued that with my sister during university. After every final exam, we got a blizzard. And to start my summer vacation, a group of friends and I spent a day in Barrie, either bowling, trying new places, just unwinding.

Unfortunately, not all traditions stay. Some end, others alter, and others become inconsistent.

Since we’ve grown up, we don’t get together with family during March Break. Sometimes we’ll see only several members of my dad’s side of Christmas. Other times not at all. And it’s been a long time since we’ve done a Canada Day reunion.

It always makes me sad when a tradition stops, or something changes about it, because I keep them close to my heart.

But the beauty of traditions is there’s always new ones. With life comes changes, and that’s’ certainly true for traditions. Whether it be a new friend’s group, or family members, new traditions are formed that don’t replace the old ones, but serve as a continuation.

Though the family of ours in Richmond Hill has moved to a new place, that same loving family atmosphere has not left.

If you have a family, you can share and pass down those traditions and values.

Those are memories you’ll never forget. At the end of the day, I guess it doesn’t matter which tradition you celebrate, but who you celebrate it with.

Don’t be sad it’s over, be glad it happened. It’s a part of your life.

What are your traditions?

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