As Tevye said in Fiddler on the Roof, “Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as... as a fiddler on the roof!” Traditions are so much a part of our culture here in the South that it seems nothing can be done without one.
Every tradition has some beginning...family game nights, celebrations and holidays all start somewhere. Some are created intentionally and some come out of the blue and change the course of your history.
Some of my favorite memories to look back on come from these silly but fun traditions. For example, I love having my Miss America and Miss Mississippi parties, including contest, food and crowns. It’s completely ridiculous but so much fun! This started as a fun event for Pi Omega and filtered into every friend group I’ve had since.
My best friend, Lauren and I have a tradition of making New Year's Eve predictions each year and sealing them until the next New Year's. We then read them and laugh at how foolish we are trying to predict the future knowing we will never get it right but you know, this is a highlight of my holiday season. This small tradition started because we were bored sitting at my parents’ house on New Year’s Eve a decade ago but now it’s a reminder of how much can change in a year and the faithfulness of God.
My sorority, Pi Omega, has more traditions than I can possibly keep up with. Some have clear histories and some make us look like lunatics! We have colors and flowers and mottos and all manners of traditional characteristics. However, we also have crazy traditions like eating Neapolitan ice cream at our pledge workshop. We have a gallon bucket of ice cream and a ton of spoons...no bowls allowed! We just set it in the middle of the floor and dig in. That is the least “meaningful” moment and yet it is part of my favorite memories because of the conversations and relationships that formed around that bucket.
My family has many traditions, as well, like all going to the opening game day of baseball together or opening family presents on Christmas Eve and Santa's presents on Christmas morning. We always watch A Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation while decorating the tree. We have favorite meals and crazy jokes that have become part of the lexicon of our clan. Words that mean nothing to an outsider but are a part of our family tapestry.
Each tradition brings back memories, both good and bad, but each is an essential part of who I was, who I am and who I hope to be. Be careful that you don't let traditions trap you but rather let them inspire you and drive you to be your best self. In the end, we all need both roots and wings.