This has been a very festive season for Lu: Phia´s Barney birthday party two weeks ago, a Rosh Hashana lunch last Friday, Mexican Fiesta on Wednesday and Yom Kipur Pre Fast Dinner today, eating in the Succha next Sunday…
For Lu the holidays have meant an amazing sensory overload full of new sounds, sights and flavors: the faces of her extended family, the flavors of matzoh ball and tamarind sweet and sour rice, the sound of the shofar but my hope is that eventually all this sights and sounds will evolve into a series of comforting rituals. However as I write this while Lu naps with no plans whatsoever of going to the temple even if it is a High Holiday I can´t help but wonder how are this rituals built?
The clue seems to lie in repetition, in eating the same foods, in doing the same things, in seeing the same people year after year until instead of being surprised like Lu is this year you start looking froward to it.
Ok so if traditions are built by repetition who is responsible of making sure things happen again time after time? For me life traditions have always revolved around food: Rosh Hashana meant spending days in a kitchen that smelt of onions frying in schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) crossing of the dozens of dishes that had to be ready, Thursday afternoon meant the school bus dropping me off at my grandma´s house where we would have a yummy lunch and then sit around the table chatting for ages and our yearly skiing trip meant e ski Ruffles chips (the blue kind) dipped in large curd cottage cheese and Peach Snapple. But then my grandmother had an accident which left her unable to function independently, my grandfather sold his condo in the mountains and Mexican stores started selling Snapple and poof! so all of my childhood traditions disappeared.
So who is going to be responsible for Lu´s childhood traditions? With two sets of very busy working grandparents and a daddy that intensely dislikes any “commercial” holiday I feel sort of responsible for passing on our Jewish traditions and building a whole new set of rituals. The question is do this rituals become rituals naturally or is there a “Aha this is what we are having for breakfast every single birthday” conscious effort involved. I guess only time and Lu will answer.
I do know that I want Lu´s life to be filled with rituals, with those small details that make you look forward to Saturdays, Hanukkah, Valentines Day and your birthday.In the meantime I LOVE LOVE LOVE rituals and traditions and would love it if you shared yours with me.