You wake up in the morning. Have your daily coffee or tea. Have breakfast. Rush through the newspapers, drop the kids to school and off to work.
We come back all tired from work or school, maybe have a conversation or two if the idiot box didn’t rule one out before we sleep to get some energy back to start the next day.
It is everyday routine. We follow this pattern endlessly only to be broken by the festivities and traditions that we have in the home. Mostly, we don’t have the time and energy to go all gung-ho about festivals and rituals.
The cynics can ask why certain days are marked to suddenly get up be joyous about.
Why is there one particular day to worship a particular God?
Why only a day to lit sparklers?
Why only one particular day to fly kites?
No one really told us that kites need only be flown during the Sankranthi month. They can be flown throughout the year. But we don’t. I think if there wasn’t a set time for it, we would have long stopped flying a kite at least at that particular time of the year, let alone all the time.
Traditions. They break routine. They break monotony. They bring families together to do something special.
I never got much into celebrating all the various festivals before my daughter was born. Mostly we would either sleep them off or just visit my parents. As she is growing up, I now understand the relevance. I see that if I don’t take special time and do the things that are meant to be done for each of the festivals, I am not really developing any family traditions for her to remember and cherish.
So from her 2nd birthday onwards, we consciously celebrate each festival and starting a new tradition. These simple little rituals teach so much more than I could ever teach the kid in normal day-to-day life.
Like for Diwali, we made Faral and made a Quilla (Fortress out of a cardboard paper). She got to learn about so many more foods and enjoyed some quality craft time with daddy. Now that quality time spent with daddy wouldn’t happen if the festival was treated as just another holiday to relax or nap around.
And for Christmas, we introduced her to the idea of Santa Claus, had the tree up from days and built her anticipation up for the D-day when Santa would deliver the gifts. She still talks about how she was a good girl and got many gifts from Santa.
For Sankranthi, we had this elaborate ‘bhogi-pallu’ for the child in which all elders shower berries, small sugarcane pieces and rice over the child’s head to ward off evil eyes. Now it sounds weird. But it’s a ritual I like to continue for the child because for this one day apart from her birthday, the child enjoys the attention of many people and meets many people.
Festivals apart, Traditions can also be really personal and unique to our family. Like Me and my husband have a little tradition of playing scrabble and we have kept scores in a notepad. The notepad now has scores from 5 years and that’s a memory I know we’ll cherish long time later. We cannot wait to play scrabble with our daughter and get her name in the notepad too Even simplest of rituals like going out every Friday for dinner is a personal tradition that the family enjoys.
These traditions build a sense of security and belonging as the child grows up. Apart from huge loads of fun pictures, the child will also have truckloads of stories to tell to his/her grandchildren
As the child performs the same activities every passing year with the parents, he/she learns to gel with the parents as a cohesive unit. And that leads to great foundation for a long and healthy relationship.
So what are unique little rituals that you have developed as traditions for your children?
If you can’t answer it immediately, go on. Create a new ritual right now. You and your children would love reaping the benefits out of the unique tradition that’s just for your little family.
An erstwhile Quality Analyst, Sirisha Achanta, is now a full-time mommy to an adorable 2-year-old girl and a part-time writer. She loves to dance, dream and read a lot!