Family traditions are experiences or activities that are passed down between generations. These traditions can be as unique and special as the family itself. In addition to being something to look forward to, traditions also establish a foundation for family values and serve as special.
Traditions can provide families with a sense of identity and belonging. They can inspire positive feelings and memories upon which family members can reminisce. Family traditions also provide a sense of continuity across generations. In other words, they are a way of transferring the family's values, history, and culture from one generation to the next.
Family traditions differ from everyday family routines, which also occur repeatedly, but lack the symbolic meaning that family rituals hold.
While family traditions carry a special significance for all family members involved, family routines are often basic activities that are necessary to keep the family unitfunctioning.
A family dinner on Friday night may be part of the family routine whereas a family dinner at a favorite restaurant for Mom's birthday may be a tradition.
Many families have traditions that last for generations. These special activities or events often generate fond memories that everyone cherishes and attempts to carry on.
Some traditions are related to the family's heritage, like going to a cultural festival or cooking a meal from the "old country" on a certain day each year. Others may have to do with special events, such as a pearl necklace that is passed down at each wedding. Still, others are simply fun activities that family members enjoy repeating.
For instance, a family full of baseball fans may make it a tradition to go to the stadium on opening day. This tradition may have started with great-grandpa and continues to involve the youngest members of the family and is something they look forward to every year.
People create and maintain family traditions because they bring meaning to celebrations and foster special bonds. More importantly, traditions create positive experiences and memories for everyone by nurturing a family's connection and giving them a sense of belonging.
Family traditions also help children understand who they are and what is important to the family to which they belong. Traditions create a connection for children that comes from feeling like they are part of something unique and extraordinary. Family traditions can even contribute to a child's self-esteem and enhance their well-being. After all, children find comfort and security when things are predictable and consistent.
Benefits of family traditions
- Make memories for families that last a lifetime.
- Provide children a sense of security by providing continuity.
- Give family members a strong sense of belonging.
- Help pass on family values including cultural and religious heritage.
- Keep generations connected and give them a family history to share.
Establishing and maintaining family traditions is a way for families to bond over shared experiences—a way for them to connect and to their past. But keeping family traditions going takes some commitment and planning. While most people look forward to the stability and predictability that comes with repeating the same activities each year, it also can be tiring if the family traditions are highly involved or require a lot of planning.
When you are creating your own family traditions, try to keep them simple. Think in terms of playing games, sharing special recipes, going on a hike, seeing a performance, and so on. The simpler traditions are more likely to be repeated and carried on. Likewise, your traditions do not need to cost a lot of money. There are plenty of ways for families to bond without spending money.When creating new family traditions for your family, it's also important to be willing to try things out and then scrap them if they don't work. For instance, if you schedule a visit to see the lights display at the zoo thinking it could become a fun tradition but it turns out to be a miserable experience because the weather doesn't cooperate or your child's allergies kick in, it's OK to scrap the idea and think of something else next year.
Family traditions don't have to be formal nor do they have to cost money. All that is required to create a new family tradition is something meaningful to your family and a little creativity. Additionally, family traditions do not have to revolve around the holidays. You can create family traditions for just about any time of year. Simply look for ways for your family to spend time together doing something they enjoy.