Celebrating Family Traditions

With a surname like Bailey, you get one guess to name the holiday our family looks forward to every year. Yes, we are in the countdown for St. Patrick’s Day, the annual celebration that we love to share with family and friends. It speaks to our heritage and gives most of us, Irish or not, a reason to celebrate.  More importantly, it gives us, as parents, a chance to share something even more important with our children: family traditions.

Underlying all of the decorating, cooking and deciding how to mark the occasion, our children are learning about their roots; the history that is their foundation, and even more of a springboard.  We hope that the traditions we are teaching our children now through stories, recipes and even flipping through old photos or keepsakes will carry on with their own families someday.

That’s why we will make corned beef and cabbage in the crock pot, along with an Americanized side dish of fresh-out-of-the-Jiffy-box cornbread. We would be ostracized if we didn’t e-mail our family in Ireland to wish them a Happy St. Patrick’s Day and find out how they are celebrating their national holiday. We will gather with friends and family to celebrate, and hopefully catch the St. Patrick’s Day parade and festival in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Kids love family traditions, especially the celebrations, which need to be passed on from generation to generation. While the St. Patrick’s Day celebration has taken a decidedly secular turn for many people, it still counts as one of the holidays we like to share as a family. I encourage my children to take part in the planning and parade-watching, and to spend time with their grandparents, asking questions and listening to stories about their ancestors. Even though I may get the typical teenage *eyeroll*, I know they enjoy their grandparents’ tales; some of the people on the family tree were real characters. All of this is what makes our family unique.

What about your family? Whether you can count one culture or more in your background, what celebrations are  family traditions? With Passover and Easter right around the corner, this is the time to remember and appreciate old customs and even make new ones for your family, especially the children.

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One Response

  1. We always made green mashed potatoes and had green milk even though we weren’t Irish. Traditions are so important to children and they need not be elaborate.

    For Easter we used to tape the end of a string to an empty toilet roll and then have the string lead the kids all around the house to a treasure. Our house would look like a giant spider has visited, and the kids used to think the longer the “path” the better. After they found their own treat they would often spend the rest of the day creating their own webs.
    The only problem we have ever encountered is when the kids were young and one woke up in the night.As I shuffled to her room, before I was fully conscious, I tripped and got rather tangled in the string.

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