Why Celebrate Traditions?
In the Spring season Passover and Easter are holidays for both looking back and looking forward. My husband is Jewish and I was raised Catholic and we have always celebrated both of these traditions. While, you may not observe either of these religious holidays, traditions are important. Perhaps instead, you create special rituals for the solstice, the equinox or for the changing seasons. No matter what our religion or cultural background there are always some traditions, formal or informal, that we can chose to celebrate.
Holidays and traditions allude to what our ancestors thought would be important for us to remember. These are their visions and values and by understanding them we can get a stronger connection to our roots. Even if we do not embrace these beliefs in the same way our ancestors did we can still learn from these clues that were left for us.
Tradition and rituals are like habits. They are grounding.They mark the passing of the years. Why is this important? Without these markers, each day becomes the same without any real natural stop and start to each new season or phase of our lives. Our ancestors were more tied to the changing of the seasons and their ancient religious and secular holidays celebrate these changes. Holidays and rituals redefine the focus and activities for the different seasons of the year.
With Easter and Passover we are celebrating a rebirth and a rescue that began a new phase for both of these traditions.This reflects the idea of spring and rebirth. Even as the traditions remain the same every year, our role in these rituals changes and evolves. We go from hunting for the Afikomen (a piece of matzo from Passover) or Easter eggs, to being “too old” for these “little kid activities.” Years later we have fun being the ones doing the hiding so we can observe the joy in our children when they find them. Although these traditions may be consistent year after year, they are always changing for us because we are changing too.
We Come Together to Celebrate
Seasonal celebrations often bring people together. No matter what else is going on, families tend to stop all other activities and come together around the holidays and traditions. Even those who dread coming back to the “same old traditions” can often find connections.
In addition to religious traditions, there are the family stories and memories that are associated with these seasonal holidays that can remind us of how we used to enjoy things as a child. Maybe it was hunting for Easter eggs or looking for the Afikomen after a Passover meal. We can get insight into how we were as children. How we remember feeling as we discovered something hidden or found something new. We can reclaim a sense of wonder and joy we may have lost and forgotten. It’s like a clue to help us rediscover our Prakruti.
The More We Change, The More We Are The Same
Sometimes we are reminded of how much we have grown and changed and gotten beyond family conflicts or issues (or not). The holidays are goal posts marking our journey through the years. Whether we dread them or look forward to them they are great places to stop and smell the roses. Or just to stop and see if we can make this holiday a little more festive.
Using the habits we have developed around self-care and meditation, we can remain mentally stable during difficult times at holiday gatherings. When we are focused on our habits, it can be easier to navigate through difficult gatherings. Our habits can also release us from the burden of having everything perfect and missing the joy of the occasion because something did not go the way you expected.
Traditions pass on the things our ancestors thought would be important for us to remember in order to keep connection to our true values.
This season take a look at what you choose to celebrate and remember:
- Stick to your regular routine as closely as possible. Even when traveling, stick to your routine to keep you grounded.
- Look past some of the things you might not enjoy and try to focus on why you are celebrating the occasion. Keep your mind on the why when things are challenging.
- Connect with those celebrating with you. Holidays are a time of creating new memories and traditions. You never know when you may be creating a memory or a tradition you may want carried on into the future.
- Use challenging situations as ways to practice acceptance. Practice acceptance not only of others, but of your own needs.