Family institution and traditions are an important part of our everyday life. It is essential that country we are living in is also a decisive factor and has a great impact on formation and development of family traditions and customs.
In my family the institution of customs is very strong and there is a number of different traditions at ours. At first I would like to make concrete what my family and I understand under the word ”˜tradition’ and what input is has on our lives.
For us traditions are some kind of habits that was observed during many years on certain date and in certain place. I think almost every family in America has some kind of personal traditions observing for many years and through generations.
For my family such a tradition is assembling together every Sunday morning. Traditionally we gather at my grandma sister’s house for ”˜11 o’clock tea’. I do remember these meetings since my early childhood. Our family is very big and we have very close relationship and spend a lot of time together.
This ”˜11 o’clock tea’ collected together all our relatives living in the city. They shared the latest news, played children drank tea and have very nice time chatting. I think that these evenings united us together and we became closer to each other.
I had my best friends since then ”“ they are my twin cousins Joe and Denver. We have had so much fun together, when we were small. When I was nearly 6, I wanted Sunday morning to last forever. Then we became older Joe and Denver are 2 years elder than me, and always helped me with home tasks, explaining complicated things ”“ I was awfully bad at math, in fact. I could remember a number of good and joyful moments about time spend at my grandma sister’s house. What is necessary to note, everybody: adults and children had a lot of in common and lots of themes to talk about. I remember that my cousins and I used to play in “old English club” and our family “villager gathering” ”“ looked liked the meeting of a certain club, where everyone could find something for himself. Now I live in another city, but all my relatives who live at my mother town still keep on to the tradition, but now they gather once in two weeks. When I visit my parents, I also to part in the ”˜11 o’clock tea’, but never like organizer but as a participant telling about my life and personal progress at the new place.
Actually I do not know who established this tradition in my family. And unfortunately, I have never been intended to ask my grandma and parents. But my personal supposition is closely connected with the idea that this tradition was established by my ancestors long before my parents and me.
I find a lot of parallels between my family tradition and all American tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving Day surrounded by numerous relatives, with delicious turkey and endless sharing by the last news. I see a lot of in common. Particular time (day of week, in our case, date in all American tradition), relatives as the attribute of family institution (in the both cases) and special dishÂ Â (in my family case ”“ tea and cakes, in all American example – turkey).
I have never made parallels between my family tradition and our racial ethnic group. I just read in many books that it is typical for wealthy people from southern states to keep together and celebrate different holidays together and gather in family circle on Sundays, after visiting church. I do not think that my family is so much wealthy but if we look on investigatory works , it differs a lot from average American family. We honour the tradition of our ancestors (I suppose it was established by them) and I think that the roots with them are still very close.
The gender question is also one that is observed in my family tradition as children are playing together (male and female). But as for adults, they usually form groups regarding to their gender: men speak about male thing and women speak about female problems. Still all the action happens in very big living room and people are sitting around the oval table, eating cakes and drink team. I think that this tradition forms gender succession and sharing of experience.
It will be very hard to describe how this particular tradition creates a sense of family. I will try to describe my personal feelings. As I have mentioned before I am living in another city, but when I come back to my mom and dad and we visit traditional Sunday ”˜11 o’clock tea’ I see dear faces and how they have changed, learn lots about them, they are always eager to help and sometimes I feel sorrow that I can do nothing for them. My mom, when calling, usually resends me their kisses and hugs; friends of my childhood, Joe and Denver, are still among my best friends and we often meet somewhere in cafÃ©, chatting and remembering good times. I just feel that we are not apart, and even living in another city, I know that they care about me and feel their attention. Yeah, I am not the single one who left the native town, there were many among the younger generation who even moved to other countries, some of them do not communicate with us at all, some are like me. It will be very hard to make the pure right conclusion, but I am still visiting ”˜11 o’clock tea’, when it possible, not because it is a tradition, but because I enjoy every minute spent their, surrounded by dear and loving people. Probably my cousins and me, also established some kind of tradition, meeting not less than once a month ”“ it is not tied to any special day of week or a month, but for the last year we have not missed any meeting. So the traditions are living in younger generation.
To be honest everything is changes with passing years, what is the worse, is that people are leaving. It is very painful, but it is our life with all its negatives and positives. As I learned from my Mom the ”˜11 o’clock tea’, now gathers rarely, not once a week, but once in two weeks. Marriage and relocation of people influences significantly and people visit the ”˜11 o’clock tea’ rarely than the older generation. Fortunately, they are visiting at all. But there are some members of our big family, who consider this to be ”˜idle talks’ and refuse to meet. I do not want to blame anyone that is just their decision and their right to refuse keeping to the tradition. They just do not enjoy it.
Well, I do not find it very pleasant, when someone leaves the family, or our cozy club. But as I have mentioned before these meetings make me feel happy and I understand that I am surrounded with caring and loving people and I have the feeling that they are my family andÂ I feel comfortable and wish to repay for their good attitude and help. They have done a lot for me, supporting in difficult moments. I do not change my attitude to them actually. My feeling of that I am at home, is still present as well as my attitude to family traditions. I do not feel like something serious has changed. If we were not meeting anymore, it would be really significant and influence me and my attitude to the family relations a lot. But now I think everything is good, we should just meet more often.
Probably it will be hard to correlate my personal example with ”˜traditional’ image of contemporary American family.
Many of my friends find such traditions old-fashioned and mockery. But it seems to me, that under the word family they just mean themselves. It is shown by typical practice of an average American family. They are not bad, they are just different. It could be proved by numerous investigation of American family.