This weekend we attempted to make our way to the pumpkin patch, a trip derailed by a closed pumpkin patch. Derailed just as our attempts to decorate for Halloween have been for the past few weeks. Both traditions of heading to the pumpkin patch and decorating on the first weekend of October have gone by the wayside for various reasons over the past two years.
This had me thinking about traditions. We don't have many traditions in our family - Halloween and Christmas being among the only ones. On Christmas Eve we open one present from underneath the tree and as my daughter's birthday is Christmas Day, we celebrate it on Christmas Eve to differentiate it from the holiday. That's it for traditions in our house and, at times, this lack of tradition disappoints me. It leaves me thinking about what, if anything, my children will carry forward when they have children of their own.
It seems sad to me that over the years, traditions that once held a special place in the lives of my ancestors were lost. I'm a bit of a mixed breed - a blend of cultures, the most concentrated I'm able to claim is Italian and English, the rest too broken down to concisely name. My maternal great-grandfather sailed from Italy and passed through Ellis Island as a young man. I often wonder what traditions he left behind on that journey. He and my great-grandmother, who was also pure Italian, chose to assimilate and embrace the culture and traditions of this country. Even the language was left behind, both refusing to speak the language of their heritage, whether for fear of repercussions or simply a desire to blend in I'll never know.
Forward to today, and I often wish things had been different. What would it have been like to learn the beauty of their language directly from them, the words that their ancestors had always known? What traditions would they have passed to me, had they done so, that I could have passed on to my children? Perhaps it's not too late. They've been gone many, many years, my children only know them from pictures, but does that truly mean their past is lost? Is it possible to still embrace the things that shaped them, learning them through different means such as internet searches? Perhaps the time has come to do so and pass on a few more traditions that will have meaning to future generations who will one day wonder what traditions they follow that were gleaned from me.
Until next time...