The Importance of Tradition + Why You Should Start Your Own

Jul. 22, 2019Did you grow up with family traditions? Maybe you always rang in the first day of summer vacation with a jump in the ocean, or the 4th of July meant a cookout, festive popsicles and fireworks. Do you always roast s’mores over a campfire on your family’s yearly wilderness excursion? Or did you go to summer camp every summer as a child?



Many of us have family or personal traditions we fondly look back upon or anticipate celebrating every year. Traditions are like rituals for our daily lives, they signify a particular event – like a holiday – or milestone, and are often directly tied to different cultures, like enjoying a particular type of cookie during the holidays – maybe using a recipe brought from another country from a distant, or event recent relative.

Whether your favorite tradition involves the entire family, just you, or your chosen family of friends, many of us know on some level that traditions are important. Think about it: How does that first s’more ‘round the campfire feel? Does jumping in the frigid ocean with the fam make you feel just a little closer? That’s not a coincidence! It turns out, traditions act as a sort of thread that knits together family and community and makes us feel more connected to those around us. Traditions can help build bridges and give us a shared identity, creating unity with every shared recipe, song, book… you get the gist. Some believe that traditions can even support better emotional adjustment – while traditions are surely beneficial for everyday life, they’re especially important in times of turmoil or stress, acting as anchors in stormy seas.

While the seeds of tradition are often sown while we’re young (maybe you read your own children the book you remember reading as a child yourself), really they can be started anytime, whether from scratch or borne from a former tradition. Why should you start your own traditions? While sure, your family traditions should be carried on if you enjoy them, it’s just as easy to start your own or customize an old tradition to fit your lifestyle. Here are a few simple ways to start your own traditions:

1. Think about the holidays or special times of year you love – or that maybe could use a little brightening up. Sure, summer is spectacular, but maybe you always feel a little ho-hum in late spring, or that quiet time at the start of the year. These are the perfect moments to create a fun tradition to look forward to.

2. Use an old tradition to start a new one. Do you love celebrating summer with family – but don’t love the way you celebrate? Start something new! Instead of hosting a traditional family cook-out, make it a potluck or cookbook club. Skip the beach and go to a state park, or make your own ice cream instead of going out for it on Sunday evenings (pro tip: weekends are best ended with ice cream).

3. Volunteer. Who said traditions have to be held close to the chest? Turn a tradition into an easy way to give back by incorporating a volunteer opportunity. If you have kids, bring them along to join in the fun and to teach them that giving back brings joy.

4. Let your traditions evolve and transform. The important aspects of keeping traditions aren’t about them staying the same year after year, half the fun of starting traditions is watching them evolve. Let a different family member take the reigns from year to year and see what happens, you’ll likely learn something new while adding variety to a favorite activity or day.

5. Celebrate the little things. Pets birthdays, last days of school, the end (or beginning) of each week… these small, simple and often silly things are all worth celebrating and all worthy of tradition. What little things can you turn festive this summer?

 

Do you have a favorite tradition? Share with us on social by tagging @AvocadoMattress and #AvocadogreenMagazine!

Julie O'Boyle

By Julie O'Boyle

 —  Julie O'Boyle is a freelance writer and content strategist with a background in fashion and DIY and a devotion to the outdoors and functional nutrition. Currently residing in the woods of Maine, when she's not writing you can find her at the beach or on a mountain, or otherwise getting her hands dirty.

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