Think back to your childhood. Were there things your family did every year that you looked forward to? Was there a celebration in your neighborhood or city that everyone always attended? Is there a national event or cultural holiday that connects you to your country or your heritage? If so, you understand the importance of traditions.
Tradition can create a deep sense of connection and happiness for families. But how many should you start? And what happens when the effort to carry them on feels like a waste of time? Read on to find out more about how you can create family traditions that feel important to everyone and will last.
What Makes a Tradition?
For some, the word “tradition” may sound a bit too weighty for their taste. And it’s true that some take their traditions very seriously.
However, that intensity is not a requirement. You might be surprised to discover how many traditions are ingrained into everyday life. In fact, you’ve probably stumbled on a tradition any time you say the words “we always” when talking about things you do with your loved ones. Perhaps the most important aspect of a tradition is how they create “a sense of identity and a feeling of belonging.”
There are three main types of traditions: cultural, religious, and family. Here are a few examples of each.
- Cultural: New Year celebrations, county fairs, Thanksgiving dinners, funerals, weddings, World Cup watch parties, independence day celebrations
- Religious: Year-end holy days (Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa), Ramadan, Dia de los Muertos, Diwali
- Family: Vacations, dinners, special gatherings or outings
The Big Benefits of Traditions
Busy parents who are already overwhelmed with work schedules, childcare, and other responsibilities may look at family traditions and decide they aren’t worth the effort. Why add one more thing to the pile of things to do?
Because traditions make a BIG difference!
Here are a few ways that traditions could have a positive impact on your family.
- Studies show that families with strong traditions felt closer. Interestingly enough, the types of traditions don’t seem to matter but the number of traditions do.
- Traditions can connect generations of people in ways that few other things can. There may not be a lot of things in common between your grandmother and your 5-year-old, but everyone can appreciate Mother’s Day or a weekly barbeque.
- Especially for kids, traditions can provide much-needed stability in a world that can feel a little unpredictable. Knowing they will go to church on Sundays, visit a favorite vacation spot every summer, or watch a movie every Friday can help ground them and make them feel secure.
- Holiday celebrations are both important times to have traditions and an easy reason to make one. They have a special place in that they often encompass all three types of traditions (cultural, religious, and family), so they pack an extra punch. If you’re looking to create more or more meaningful traditions in your family, check out your calendar and look for ways you can make yearly holidays special for your family.
Start a Family Tradition
Getting a tradition started can be the hardest part about the whole process. Trying to anticipate what traditions will catch on in your family can be difficult.
Check out this article about family rituals to help take the guesswork out of what traditions your family could start this year. Involve your kids in creating the tradition, too. If they feel a part of making the day special, they’ll remember it for the rest of their lives.