In Scotland, 25 January is Burns Night. It’s an annual celebration to commemorate the life of the bard (poet) Robert Burns who was born on 25 January 1759. The day also celebrates Burns’ contribution to Scottish culture. You might have heard his best-known work, Auld Lang Syne, being sung at New Year.
The main attraction of Burns night is the Burns Supper, these can range from an informal gathering of friends to a huge, formal dinner of haggis, tatties and neeps, toasting with whisky, lots of tartan, bagpipes, Ceilidh dancing and poem recitals.
This got me thinking about traditions. Traditions are beliefs or behaviors passed down from generation to generation, sometimes evolving over thousands of years, and they add to the rhythm and seasonality of life. They form a critical piece of our culture. They remind us that we are part of a history that defines our past, shapes who we are today and who we are likely to become.
There is a reason we intentionally maintain and create traditions – it’s because they bring meaning to our celebrations and help bond us to those we love. They lend a certain spirit that nurtures connection, giving us a sense of belonging and helping us celebrate generations of families and individuals.
More importantly, traditions create positive and negative memories. Children crave the warmth and promise that comes with constructive traditions. They anchor family members to each other and provide a sense of belonging. Everyone has family traditions, whether new or old, and they hold a special place in our heart.
Holiday traditions are usually the first thing people think of when you mention traditions, but it’s a good idea to have daily connection traditions too. Daily connection traditions are those small activities you do every day that re-enforces family identity and values. Family meals, games nights, bedtime stories, and watching television shows together. These memories created in childhood can be carried on into adulthood.
Tradition offers an excellent context for meaningful pause and reflection.
Families are not perfect, and there is no “perfect family tradition.” To create a tradition in your family, just bring a little creativity, a great story and a lot of love to the table. You can start with something as simple as soup.