Is it not the time of year to indulge in traditions? What are they and how do we react to them? En effet, c’est bien le temps des traditions. D’où viennent-ils et à quoi ils peuvent nous servir?

To begin this blog I sought the Latin root of the word :

tradition” itself derives from the Latin tradere or traderer literally meaning to transmit, to hand over, to give for safekeeping.’’

Les racines sont du Latin sont tradere ou traderer faisant appel aux notions de transmission pour garder le passé sécure.  Une tradition est une activité, un repas, une façon de s’habiller, une croyance qui nous aide à se souvenir de nos ancêtres et les choses qu’ils tenaient à cœur.

Traditions are thus mechanisms linking us to the past through our active participation and actions in the current time. Let us assume that all have had the nurturing in young life to receive this transmission. Obviously there are many who do not benefit from this. To name a few causes: war, seriously disrupted family life, extreme poverty. And even under trying conditions and persecution, holding on to what was good in the past and knowledge of how things were different at one time is precious information to attempt to preserve and inculcate in the young generation.

Les traditions sont une manière  de s’assurer que ‘je me souviens’…et que mes proches vont m’aider à sauvegarder les bonnes valeurs. Je crois que les traditions sont des signes externes et des actions qui démontrent notre respect pour nos grands-parents et les multiples générations précédents. Pour ce faire, la personne a eu à recevoir le cadeau des habitudes ou des croyances de quelqu’un. La majorité va recevoir ce trésor de leurs parents mais il y a des circonstances quand l’apprentissage ne peut se faire. On peut penser aux familles déchirées, des pays en guerre, la persécution des gens pour leurs croyances, entre autres. L’individuel peut choisir de refuser.

Safekeeping a trust handed down through the generations implies that the recipient is open to take the responsibility and chooses to adhere to the mentality and beliefs accompanying the traditions. Or does it? I suppose if one could only prepare seasonal foods or decorations if they adhered to the belief system of generations long passed, then there would be few currently out shopping for gifts, decorating Christmas trees, spiking the eggnog and sweating over the oven this week to the sounds of Carols. We are a strange generation who keeps the tradition and will pass on the doing of the seasonal activities but we may fail to transmit for safekeeping the real meaning of Christmas, because many of our generation have rejected it.

Les valeurs qui motivent les traditions semblent moins évidentes de nos jours. Certes nos recettes de nos grand-mères seront copiées pour nos petits-enfants et les cantiques de noël seront chantés, mais pour plusieurs jeunes autres que les gestes il n’y aura plus de fond philosophique ni religieux. Si pour éliminer les abus du passé, il faut passer par ce désert, on va y arriver au 25 quand-même avec la senteur de dinde et la grande visite de toute la famille. De cette façon nous allons comprendre le message de paix et joie de la saison!

The habitual doings of the season bring structure to our lives, variety from the humdrum weeks, brighten the short days of early winter and consolation to those who have lost significant people in their lives. Stability and predictability of our seasonal habits somehow reassure us. Unfortunately events can quickly change reality. Customs played out yearly since a young age are suddenly threatened by health concerns or the absence of a loved one. It  makes the holidays more of a challenge for all. If we lose the desire to make merry, clinging to traditions can serve to ground us and act as a rudder in a highly emotionally charged time of the year.

Regardless of our beliefs, if we can enjoy the fellowship of those around us (including our pets), extend a hand of compassion to one in need, we will live the peace and joy that this season is meant to be all about!




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