You guys!!! It’s the third freaking Saturday of the month! 2014 is just flying by! Eek! As you obviously know by now … I’m celebrating the Smithsonian Heritage Months at ALBTALBS. And the third Saturday always features a reader, because you know what? Readers are fucking awesome and we’re what drives this whole crazy Romanceland and market. So kudos, bitches! (And I say that in the most loving and rockingest way possible. :D)
Anyway I managed to rope long time community member and all around superstar E to visit with us! I hope you all chime in! <3
Greetings, **waves** I am E, one of the members of The Book Pushers and I am here as the example of why late night Twitter and lack of sleep make a dangerous combination. No, honestly I am thrilled to be providing this guest post for Limecello to support her efforts to do something a little different for each of the themed months in the United States. She gave me pretty much free reign to say whatever I wanted so instead of doing the more typical look at Black History Month, what it means, who it honors, why it is important I am going to try to do something a little bit different. As I thought about this post one word kept popping into my head. The word was “tradition.” If you bear with my ramblings I will tie the word tradition back to the reason I am posting.
Tradition. What exactly is tradition? When I think of tradition the first thing that comes to mind is primarily cultural. For example the song “Tradition” from the soundtrack of Fiddler on the Roof,
which talks about cultural norms that have existed for so long the reason behind them is unknown. Another cultural example is eating certain foods on New Year’s Day to bring luck, health, and good fortune in the upcoming year. This cultural viewpoint agrees more with the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, tradition is a noun with two primary definitions:
– a way of thinking, behaving or doing something that has be used by the people in a particular group, family, society, etc., for a long time
– the stories, beliefs, etc., that have been part of the culture of a group of people for a long time
But, when I look at my family, the traditions that stick out have a much shorter legacy, so short in fact that I can provide the origins. Like a significant number of U.S. families we gather for Thanksgiving and Christmas to eat all of the food. I was in junior high when my mom and aunts got tired of doing a turkey with trimmings twice in a 30 day time period so they put their heads together and decided that Thanksgiving would have turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, etc. and Christmas would have a Mexican food theme including tamales. For some the making and eating of tamales for Christmas is one of those long-standing cultural habits but for my family with its origins in the south, mid-west, and west this was a drastic change. And it has lasted to this day. For myself, there are two days each year that I will make chili, New Year’s Day and Superbowl. I make chili other days as well but I associate those two days with watching football, and to me chili is perfect. Dictionary.com, has five main definitions which while similar seem to provide a bit more latitude in interpretation and fits both the idea of long standing traditions as well as my more modern ones.
– the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice
– something that is handed down
– a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting
– a continuing pattern of culture beliefs or practices
– a customary or characteristic method or manner
Throughout the years, the US government has declared ethnically themed months. My day job takes those months and actually does something to observe those months. Typically, there is a speech or presentation that includes a demonstration or discussion about some of the traditions of that particular culture or ethnicity. Following the formal portion food tends to make an appearance, not enough for a meal but enough to taste and to hopefully raise awareness. In other words, they try to celebrate the traditions, which help make the culture or ethnicity unique. I personally like that idea because as you saw in my own family, we have borrowed a tradition from another culture, adapted it slightly to make it our own, and enjoy it every year.
As a result I try to remember during the commemorative months to look at the traditions or the central reason for that month and maybe find a little something I can add to my personal traditions or develop a greater awareness of the contributions or origin of certain freedoms, benefits, or habits in my own life. I hope you have traditions of your own, and regardless of what the definition implies; traditions can change, grow, and morph to fit who we are and who we want to be. You just have to decide to make an alteration and then pass it down.
Thank you, Limecello for allowing me to ramble on your blog today and thanks for doing something to honor the commemorative months!