What is Tradition? For me, the idea of traditions, especially how I’d grown up in a Latino family, is truly an empowering concept… now. What do I mean by “now?” Well, admittedly, when I was young, I hadn’t understood what my mother had been trying to give me and my siblings. They had just seemed like worn out concepts and ancient ideals.
Though once I’d become older, I’d seen how traditions had literally given my life meaning and blessings. They had helped me identify myself amidst the world around me. And, it had enhanced my inner connections to family and faith.
First and foremost, it is important to understand that traditions come from a place of great love. Having a custom or belief passed down to you from generation to generation is a way to strengthen and empower the immediate and extended family unit. It’s a way to know that the knowledge of yore pulses through your veins so you always have an answer. And you are never alone.
Traditions are our “oral” history played over and over again. These long established collective coils of customs and beliefs can be illustrated as a simple practice or become an entire way of living. Traditions may have likely become rituals that we’d practiced and had become a habit.
Let’s use an example to illustrate this. I’m going to use the definition of custom as a practice or way of doing a particular event. A belief, as I’m going to use it, would be a personal perception taken as truth. A tradition, then, would be the transference or extension of a custom and belief; as if passed on to another generation.
So if your parents had the custom of allowing you and your siblings to open a Christmas present on Christmas Eve, you likely grew up and had a family of your own and on Christmas Eve, believed it was okay for your kids to open a present. This was the custom that you’d had passed on to you from your parents and had become a tradition for your family.
Traditions teach us many lessons including family values, structure, love and history. Our traditions basically become our code of honor.
Traditions can be new and meaningful with the right attitude behind it. Be proud of who you are as you celebrate your customs and traditions. Do not be afraid to share the meaning and history of your traditions. Be proud and know the value your traditions bring to the current and future generations.