Meaningful traditions enhance holiday celebrations
Published 1:27 pm Thursday, April 20, 2023
Around the world, thousands, perhaps millions of individuals, families, and faith communities celebrate Easter. For some, religious services took center stage in those celebrations. In addition, many hosted Easter egg hunts and gifted treat-filled baskets to children of all ages.
Whether celebrants are alone or in groups, celebrating with worship, colorful decorations, or tasty foods specific to the holiday season, traditions are an important part of holiday festivities or other annual events.
As a child, I celebrated holidays with my family in a traditional manner. At Easter, our family attended church, where we proudly displayed our new, or new to us, Easter outfits. My sister and I frantically searched for the coveted golden egg at the church Easter egg hunt.
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We always received a chocolate filled Easter basket, with the requisite stuffed Easter bunny, and dined on ham and potato salad for lunch.
As an adult, my Easter celebrations looked much the same as they had in my childhood years. My daughters sported new Easter dresses, enjoyed the traditional egg hunt at church, and napped the afternoon away to sleep off the effects of a tummy filled with ham and chocolate.
In recent years, I discovered a revelation: everyone’s holiday tradition is unique.
Meeting new people from different cultures, and sharing stories with coworkers and friends, I learned that their Easter traditions did not always look like mine. The man who received an Easter basket with a few treats and some practical items, such as socks, found just as much meaning in his basket as I had in mine.
On birthdays, our family did not exchange birthday gifts. Perhaps it was because of our tight family budget, or perhaps because my depression-era parents had not exchanged gifts for childhood birthdays.
Either way, I had no idea others did exchange gifts. Our meaningful celebrations included a birthday cake and lunch out at the restaurant of our choice. The birthday girl always received the piece of cake with the largest frosting rose. Today, that’s still all I need for a happy birthday.
I found the discovery eye opening, to learn that holiday traditions can be different and yet all are meaningful.
Traditions can remain the same from one generation to the next, or they can change and evolve as children grow up and form their own families.
My parents rarely had extra money for lavish gifts or decorations. And yet, our celebrations never lacked joy but were filled with expressions of love and a spirit of faith.
We would be interested to know what traditions make celebrations meaningful for you. Be sure to connect with us on Facebook or email newspaper staff at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your meaningful traditions.