In our family, there are several cultures and traditions that play a very important role in defining our family values and cultures. These traditions and cultures have been passed to our parents from our grandparents.
The two most vivid cultural patterns that are present in our family have been inherited by our parents from the blending of the culture from my maternal grandparents and my fraternal grandparents.
The cultural patterns
Every Sunday, our father always prepares supper for the family and he makes sure that we eat together as one family. This tradition has been there in our family for a long period and helps us to bond together as a family unit.
Every night on the eve of my birthday or that of my siblings, our parents usually sneaks into our bed room and fills it with balloons which are stuffed with money and toys. My father usually writes several bunches of poems and leaves the written poems on our table. When we wake up in the morning, our mother usually prepares for us a birthday morning cake which we enjoy together as a family as we read the bunch of poems.
Different roles in upholding the traditions
During our Sunday’s family dinner/supper, my parents dwells on teaching us on the way forward in regards to behaviour and especially the use of courteous words such as ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. They discourage talking when the mouth is full as well as placing of the elbows on the table. Also during this time, my parents taught us the developmental skills like literacy skills when story telling during family conversations. During these conversations, my parents would learn more on our attitudes and interests. From these meals, my parents gauge our moods and needs thus helping us solve our problems in the end. My parents oversee the family to ensure that everybody attends to maintain the unity and stability in the family.
The dinner table or birthday party is a significant place for socialization especially for the children. These act as prime setting for socialization regarding the norms and rules on values of the family and the acceptable behaviour. From the nutritional perspective, the children master what is considered acceptable; basically the foods and non-food materials.
From the family dinners and birthdays, my siblings and I have discovered manners and behaviour restraints that the wider world requires. Through conversations of the family during birthday parties and family dinner, we learned of our parents’ interests and attitudes in relations to the world. We always help our father to prepare for the family dinner on Sundays. As the eldest, I helped my father prepare the foods and especially the desert and vegetables while my other younger siblings have inevitably prepared the table.
As part of our tradition, the family meal is a symbol of a shared family life. On Sunday’s, family supper/dinner acts to bringing us together in the family. This greatly leads to our social well-being at the same time providing predictable structure to our Sundays which is often reassuring especially psychologically. In our family, everybody is involved in this activity and this applies to the buying of food, preparations of food done by my father, making and laying the table, and finally serving of food. With all this participation, it is not a surprise that the provision of this family meal is a classic demonstration that we love and care for our family stability and unity. From the initial stages of shopping to clearing the table, each member of the family participates in this exercise responsibly and this promotes family solidarity.
The Reflection on the Tradition
Though we have a happy family, we also experience our setbacks. At the end of the day, the members of the family who are already exhausted after a busy day at school or work and probably maybe irascible meet for a family meal or party. Hostility may arise perceived at the dinner/party table maybe because of the injustices and behaviour which is unacceptable. Refusal to eat, complaining about bad cooking or lack of appreciation on whatever served on the table are some of the things that can lead to these conflict at the dinning/party table. Therefore, family dinners and birthday parties have many positive virtues that are sometimes fought with strain and negative consequences which greatly depend on the styles of parenting.
As a socially combining role, when we share a meal during birthdays or Sunday dinner, it brings people together in a network of reciprocal commitments and shared social relationships.
As a tradition routine, Sunday family dinner prepared by my father has been most frequent planned ritual activity in our family which usually takes place in our family house.
The family meal and birthday parties in specific have come to represent the dynamics of the family and overtime generations are complaining on its downfall. In the times of change, family meals and parties represented solidity and perhaps the complaint of the lost family may in fact be the response to feared exchange in the arrangements and frameworks of families.
These family traditions still influence me to date. This is due to the fact that they provide a source of identity on top of strengthening the family bond. I believe that the families that engage in frequent traditional practices report stronger relationship and unity than families that haven’t accepted rituals together. I will carry my family traditions in future because I view them as a way of offering comfort and security. This is because our family beliefs and rituals are the cure to the feeling that comes from our world which is fast-paced and ever-changing.
It’s relieving to have a few constants in one’s life. Am also for the idea that these family traditions teach values and this is achieved by for instance through family stories where the value of education, life-long learning and reading is instilled; and through regular family dinners or parties, the centrality of familial togetherness is instilled. With all this in mind, I will definitely carry these traditions in the future.