A key bedrock of culture. A whole form of ritualized communication. The traditional dress that tells people which village you are from and if you are already married. The way we do things around here, confirming a sense of loyalty and affiliation: “I am one of these who does this like this”. What we have for dinner on a high holiday. Your mother’s recipe that you will defend as the best even thought you might not have spoken for decades. Is this a source of comfort, stability and pride? Or more a reason to rattle at the gate, afraid things will calcify, devoid of true meaning?
This can go either way, and can vary greatly depending on which issues you are looking at. A lot of this crept into our lives before we had any conscious choice about it, and has become part of the fabric. Or you use a new start as a marker to invent something which you hope will become a new tradition once you have done it a few times. The first family Christmas with a new baby. The just-forming anniversary rituals with your partner. The decision not to have a family Christmas (you will never be adult enough for that conversation to be easy).
A lot of tradition shows up as rituals. Rituals are a way of putting spirit into matter. Of making a quality real we want, need to be real. We do something and fuse meaning into it as we are doing it, and some of this then sticks. Or we hope it does. We find comfort in the familiar, or we try to use it as a bargaining chip with a higher power if that is part of your universe. Especially in challenging, changing circumstances rituals can provide a source of comfort and stability, a stable rock in the seas of change.
What traditions do you have? What do you get out of them? What serves? What constrains?