Tradition – a belief or behaviour passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past.
Traditions are everywhere and in every aspect of our lives. Take St Valentines Day for instance. Each 14th of February is widely recognised as THE day to show that special someone that you love them. All over the world people give flowers, chocolates and gifts all in the name of St Valentine. These traditions had to start somewhere – they weren’t always there. It turns out that the Pagan festival of Lupercalia (which welcomed in the season of Spring after the dark, cold months of Winter) was celebrated a little later than February…then it was decided that Pagans should be ‘Christian-ised’ and so the festival was moved to February…centuries later, the Victorians (who loved to give cards to each other to celebrate lots of different events) started the journey to the traditions that we recognise today! And what about Cupid? – Well, he comes from Greek mythology…I’ll leave that one there for now!
Many of us will have our own traditions connecting us to this day of love too. Maybe you’ve been with your partner for years and always celebrate Valentines by giving a set number of red roses to each other, or maybe you write your beloved a beautiful piece of poetry, or have a romantic meal together. If you are single and admiring someone from afar – maybe you pluck up the courage to send a card and let them know how you feel. Or maybe you’re not interested in a romantic relationship and, actually, Valentines day for you is simply showing your best friend that to you that you love and care about them. I bet there’s a whole host of other brilliant, endearing and even silly-fun traditions individual couples and friends are creating for themselves too.
The tradition of holding a ceremony has its origins deep rooted in society, almost since the dawn of time. Ceremonies are often seen as a rite of passage – a way to mark and honour significant life events. Commonly we think of ceremonies being reserved for life events such as celebrating births and marriages and commemorating the end of a life. And quite often those ceremonies bring a whole host of individual traditions with them, for better or worse (excuse the pun!).
One thing that I’ve learned from my experiences is that life is too short to follow (all) the rules! There is time and space for the traditions that we know and oftentimes love, but why not start making our own traditions, to celebrate, mark and commemorate events important to us, making it truly yours. Some of the best ceremonies I’ve been privileged to witness are those that were simple, heartfelt and ‘just right’ for the people at the centre of it. And ceremonies certainly don’t need to be confined to a wedding or funeral or for a large group of people to attend – it could be just for you, celebrating or commemorating something that is significant, special and personal to you.