Monday, March 29, 2010

Rant: Losing Tradition

In our fast paced world, it seems that too many families fail to get together except on major holidays, and even that sometimes does not occur. Major holidays are a good time to get together but they also contain their own disadvantages. There are so many expectations on such holidays, that a person can pass through the holiday almost like a robot, just going through the motions.

The problem is that many families are losing touch with each other, traditions dying off, because they do not get together frequently enough. Family recipes may not be passed down to the newer generations and could vanish forever. Family traditions may fade away. These endangered items should not be lost and the solution is rather simple. Get together more often!

In my family for example, we all meet several times a year, outside of major holidays, and this helps to preserve long traditions. For example, rappie pie is a Nova Scotian specialty, and has been eaten by the family for many past generations. We did not want this traditional recipe to die off, so the older generations have been teaching the younger ones, and we get together to share this delicious dish. We are ensuring that the tradition will continue for many years to come and that the recipe will not be lost.

We also have an annual Soup Day, where various family members each prepare a different type of soup. Plus, we have homemade bread, another long-time recipe which is being passed down to the newer generations. This weekend was just our Soup Day, and we enjoyed everything from chicken soup to corn chowder, chili to beef stew.

Are you losing your family traditions, or have you done something to continue them? Do you prepare family recipes that have been passed down through the generations? Do you get together with your extended family outside of major holidays to help preserve tradition?

Don't lose what can be so precious.


CChamberlain said...

Sadly my family NEVER gets together except holidays, weddings and god forbid - funerals. It's gotten a lot worse over the years due to some family drama but I realized on Saturday morning that I haven't seen either of my Grandmother's since Christmas - which is just unacceptable.

I have been really busy but I think as a post-Easter resolution, I'm going to make an active effort to be a better Granddaughter.

You've inspired me :)

Kristen said...

I host an annual holiday party, invite the whole damned extended family and the aunts and cousins love that I try to keep up the Swedish traditions.

What people enjoy even more, though, is simply the chance to all get together. I love the idea of creating another non-holiday gathering time that can become a tradition of it's own.

When my mother died, (almost twenty years ago now) part of the grieving process for me was to compile and self publish a small cookbook of her recipes. Whether they had been handed down for generations or were just ones we had come to think of as family favorites, it was important for me to disseminate the information to my siblings and extended family members.

Maybe it would be fun to have a family cookbook party, where everyone brings a food, and the recipe for it, which they feel has become a tradition in their part of the family. Will have to think about that one...

Also, now I want Swedish meatballs, damn you. :)

Hector said...

I spent a lot of time with my grandmother and grandfather before they passed away. They are the ones that opened up my eyes to food and flavor. Over the years I picked up some really good Cuban food recipes as handed down by their parents and grandparents. It is funny because now I am the one that cooks the 'old' recipes when my family comes over to visit. I still miss the time I spent with abuelita Ela in the kitchen.

Richard Auffrey said...

Constance, I am very glad that I have inspired you. It makes me happy that I wrote this post. I hope it works out well for you.

Kristen, thanks for your comments. The family cookbook idea sounds excellent, and I hope you do it. If so, I look forward to reading out it. And get some Swedish meatballs. :)

Hector, I am glad you got to spend so much time with your grandparents, and it is great you are continuing the old recipes. Tradition is not dying out in your house.