I’ve been going on a journey to challenge my traditions, rituals, and beliefs to find out exactly why I practice and do these things. The 2nd definition of traditions is defined as:
“The passing down of elements of a culture from generation to generation.”
The purpose behind each tradition is important to me. I do not want to continue my life under traditions that I know not of how they began. Yea we learn a smigged of some while in grade school, but who really remembers that? I started with Thanksgiving and began exploring from there. After all, you don’t know where you’re going, if you don’t know where you’ve been. In sharing my discoveries and thoughts on behalf of each tradition, I am in no way shape or form pursuing my readers to believe what I believe. I only hope to spark your own interest into digging a little more into the things you believe to discover a more authentic you. Something I find important in all aspects of life, love, and happiness. Well, it looks like Christmas is up! Here goes…
I unintentionally began a conversation with my Dad about Christmas. Once I arrived back home I noticed there wasn’t a Christmas tree. So much for the Christmas spirit huh? I asked my dad, “Where’s the Christmas tree?” He replied, “It’s of the pagan tradition and that’s not what I celebrate.” Now for all my years of living, I remember a Christmas tree growing up, but of course I wasn’t going to bring that up. To give you a little background on my dad, he is extremely conservative and highly religious. Not the scary conservative and religious, he’s pretty cool and extremely personable. I’m lucky because although he has his own personal practices and ways, he allows me to explore my own. Lucky huh? Well he wasn’t always that way, but thank God for growth! Anyhow, I had him explain in-depth about the pagan’s traditions, where it derived from, and how the Christmas tree was/is incorporated in those traditions. Very interesting to say the least! Think about how our feelings are tied to a Christmas tree or presents to feel the Christmas spirit. I’m not going to lie, I kinda did. In my head, my Christmas was slowly being redefined. I began thinking about the things we do around Christmas time, and I finally figured it out. My Christmas is love, family, basketball, food, sorrel (aka liquor), tons of laughs and fun! But of course, I already knew that. However, you see how easily it is to get caught up in the traditional make-up around the holidays?
I then initiated a conversation about marriage. I explained my previous post about marriage and how much of a hit it was. Both good and bad. I intentionally brought it up, because it was slightly taken out of context to some, and I sort of felt a little swemish because of it. My dad gave his perspective, which of course came directly from the bible. He explained something even more interesting to me. He said, “Sometimes we forget, or do not know, that many teachings aren’t meant to be taken literally. Some are to be taken or received metaphorically and/or figuratively. In many ways to say, people often misinterpret things in the wrong way.” What a way to explain “Perception Is Your Reality.” He went on about the Jews and the way things were back then in regards to arranged marriages by the age of twelve and fifteen. Super young! He went on further to say that, now-a-days there are a million and one distractions, and that our culture today, marry for looks. He said, “The reason why people arranged marriages so young was because they were centered on substantial reasons. It was a way where parents set their children up early for success.” Isn’t it crazy how nearly ALL of the fairy tale love stories we’ve seen portray arranged marriages as the most horrible thing on the planet? Titantic, Romeo & Juliet, the Prince and Me etc. He ended off the marriage topic with saying, “When two people come together combining their resources, the sky is the limit.” I nearly fainted! Now that is what marriage is about! The truth in that statement was so powerful.
To conclude, whether we’re taught or brought up one way or the other, I wholeheartedly believe all things are meant to be questioned. It’s been drummed into our heads that questioning things is a bad thing, but how else would we learn? Is our first perception really the right perception? Just about every individual living on the planet is practicing a tradition ending 2013. Some because it’s exciting, others because it’s a family thing, and most because it’s all they know. I ask you today, why? When you have children, if you don’t already, and your child asks, “Why do we celebrate this (insert any tradition here)?” What will you say? Always take a second look at things. The mind is a powerful thing, and there is constantly many people, things, and institutions fighting for your attention to occupy space.
On the 23rd of December, the day before the great Christmas Eve, cheers to the things you know and to the things you think you know!
In whatever way you practice, Happy Holidays!