Sibongile Mafu

Family traditions

2013-12-27 08:38

Sibongile Mafu

For the past 15 years or as long as I can remember, my family has had the same Christmas tradition. No one cooks. No one exerts themselves on Christmas Day.

In other households, people slave away (with smiles of course) for hours preparing delicious meals for the people they love, but not in our house. We do things a little differently.

We go somewhere else to eat, whether it be a hotel, a restaurant, one year we even went to a prison, just to switch it up. It really is one of the most special family traditions.

We look back at the year, thankful at how far we’ve come, laugh at the mistakes we’ve made and look forward to the New Year.

Family traditions are a weird sort of thing. You start doing them when you’re very young, presumably not knowing why you’re doing them.

You then have the luxury of growing older and figuring out why the grown-ups around you have put so much emphasis and importance on it. Why the fuss?

Everyone insists on stopping or slowing down their very busy lives and making time to be with one another.

And as the years have gone by, and the young people in the family have grown into non-drinking adults around their parents, the significance of it becomes clearer. Would you ever really see your family if it weren’t for those family reunions and celebrations?

They almost force us all to take a second, book a flight home and spend some time with your flesh and blood. In a world that takes people further and further apart from each other, as they choose to live in different parts of the world, making it increasingly difficult to come back together again, traditions kick us up the backside and remind us that it is not only about the you, the individual.

Sociology has done a lot of the hard work in unpacking family traditions and the value they have in a human being’s life. The sense of belonging as well the comfort of the familiar, and as much as I enjoy my own company, there is always something that will pull me home.

And I will go home knowing full well that my mom will complain that I spend too much on clothes, and chastise me for still not knowing how to make my bed properly, and boy do I treasure those moments.

These traditions of course remain traditions because they’re passed on from generation to generation, kept alive by the people that remain behind. Who knows, thing may change with my own, yet-to-exist future family but I will definitely be an advocate to this family tradition, not to avoid cooking, but for everyone to have very real time spent together, doing nothing at all.

Of course traditions like this this don’t mean the same thing to everyone. Some would prefer being alone for the most part, people who’d rather spend as much time as they can away from family, and frankly who just like being on their own.

I love that too, but traditions always remind you that in this big bad world, you are part of a bigger whole.

I hope you continue on with yours.

- Sibongile is a videographer, blogger and social media enthusiast who would be nothing without her thumbs. Follow her on Twitter: @SboshMafu.

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