Celebrating Traditions…

“Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday dear________. Happy Birthday to you!”

How many times have you had the above song sung to you by friends and or relatives? How many times have you sung it to others? The singing of the ‘Happy Birthday’ song is one tradition followed by many of us. It is a way to celebrate the birth of an individual. A way to say that you believe the day he or she was born was and is still special. A way to show that you care about the person. Have you ever had a birthday pass without the traditional serenade of ‘Happy Birthday’? Did you miss it?

In my family, the singing of the ‘Happy Birthday’ song is a long-term tradition. It was always a part of the birthday festivities and was frequently sung 10 times a year. While growing up, my siblings and I were often reluctant to participate in this birthday ritual. It seemed too old-fashioned and corny. A thing from the past that we didn’t need in our lives…at the time. But fast forward 50+ years. Today, I find myself continuing this and other family traditions that once seemed unnecessary. (I have, in fact, been known to call various family members on their birthdays and sing this birthday serenade to them. It doesn’t matter whether or not I can carry a tune (not). The sentiment is there and is very heartfelt. 🙂 I have come to realize that these and other family traditions are indeed important. They help to bond me and my other family members together. A shared history that is more important now than ever.

What family traditions were celebrated in your family? Do you make a point to continue them? Do you continue to sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song? Have you ever stopped to wonder why?

The dictionary defines tradition as “The passing down of elements of a culture from generation to generation.” Throughout history, these elements have helped to create stability, a consistent foundation from the past for individual families. This has been extremely important during the years when nothing else was/is guaranteed and everything was/is uncertain. Think the Great Depression, World Wars, pandemic diseases, technologies invading the quiet country life, the threat of terrorists or how about an uncertain Presidential election year? Uncertainty and change have always been a part of everyday life in this country and around the world. In fact, I have often heard it said that change is the only real constant you can depend on. But change is scary for many. Traditions can help.

Did you know that even the food you cook and eat is based on tradition? When I think about our family birthday celebrations, for example, I also think of homemade two-layer cakes with individual birthday sentiments, hand-piped with love by Mom. Every family member being honored received one of these fabulous cakes and had to blow out the candles. This was no easy feat in our family. Multiple family members meant multiple birthday cakes. Sometimes several of these cakes had to be created in one week!

Food traditions do not have to be limited to holidays or special celebrations, however. What about the food eaten the rest of the year? The term ‘comfort food’ describes food items that can be eaten to provide support and comfort. Most of the time, these dishes provide comfort because they are associated with memories from the past. Often times these foods also have a texture or taste that soothes the body as well as the soul. For many, these foods are frequently in the dessert category. Like the homemade birthday cake above or handmade peach cobbler or candy (for me). They can also include dishes such as mac and cheese or homemade bread rolls, baked beans, etc. Any type of food can become a soothing tradition. Even the smell of the food cooking can become a soothing memory. A type of aromatherapy that you can actually eat! If in doubt of this, notice how you feel the next time you walk through a bakery and smell cinnamon rolls baking. There is a reason realtors frequently use the scent of baked goods to make their showings more successful. Comforting smells= memories and feelings of home.

Celebrate your life and family today by honoring the traditions from your past and/or creating your own traditions. Pass this information on to your children and grandchildren. Help them to gain strength and enjoyment from those things that you hold dear. Traditions are another of life’s simple pleasures!

Join The Simple Heart of Life herb shop this Saturday, September 3rd, for a Garden Birthday Party. The festivities will be held in our Wildlife Habitat Gardens, 1482 Turkey Farm Road, Bluffs, Ill, (or our herb shop at 1486 Turkey Farm Road, Bluffs, Ill., in case of rain) and will begin at 2:00 pm. Participants will enjoy herbal chocolate cake, homemade ice cream floats, chocolate truffles and even a plant and bulb swap. Everything is included for $5. Post a message below if you are interested as space is limited. Or you can call or text 217-248-1508 to R.S.V.P. What better way to celebrate the passing of another year than in the garden?


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