Why I Value Tradition

Unpopular opinion: Thanksgiving has been, and always will be, my favorite holiday. I know everyone loves to skip over Thanksgiving and go straight into December holidays, but I can proudly say that has never been me. Maybe it’s because of the traditions that my family has built over many years, or maybe I just like to eat more than I like to get presents. Either way, family tradition has become something I value more and more as I get older, and it's a tradition that most likely takes credit for my intense love of turkey day.

Thanksgiving morning starts a little something like this: piping hot coffee wafts all the way up to my bedroom, and its strong aroma immediately awakens me. I can practically taste the freshly baked pumpkin bread that I made from scratch the night before, waiting patiently on the counter to be enjoyed with my morning coffee. Of course, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is already playing on the TV when I finally make my way downstairs. The best part? My siblings all have the same idea, and my parents follow us to the couch, pumpkin bread and coffee in hand, shortly after. I look forward to the tradition of lounging in my PJ’s and bickering with my siblings about which singers are lip syncing on each spectacular Macy’s parade float.

I can always count on my family to host a very non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner that, as a matter of fact, has now become traditional to me. By non-traditional, I mean we cook up a delicious combination of ethnic Sri Lankan food and good ole classics such as mashed potatoes and stuffing. We also eat much later than the average family on Thanksgiving, but that is just another thing I love about my dysfunctional family. I am always in charge of setting a pristine layout for the Thanksgiving table, and I am also expected to make everyone a mean cappuccino when it’s time for dessert. It’s the little traditions like these that make Thanksgiving my favorite holiday.

While these rituals are ones that I will always hold close to my heart, tradition to me means more than just knowing what is going to happen on a special day. It is more than just routine, and is more than just mindless anticipation. It’s about the people I choose to create those memorable traditions with that leave the biggest imprint on me. When those traditions are passed down from family member to family member, I will always remember who taught me every tradition and why it was so important to them.

In a way, traditions are like a little box of family memories. They hold the stories of so many people before you who want you to have the same incredible experiences that they did on a special day. There is so much value in knowing little things like why my family always watches A Christmas Story right after Thanksgiving dinner, or why we always have to bake apple pie from scratch (down to the crust). Knowing that my mom used to do that with her family when she was younger gives me a little anecdote about her that I can hold onto forever.

Traditions are important, but it is with those you choose to practice and remember those traditions with that give them true meaning.