Monday, April 1, 2013

In Defense of Tradition


Easter has lost its meaning. It’s a statement that I have heard multiple times from several sources leading up to yesterday's holiday. Perhaps it’s coincidence, but I’ve noticed that most of these statements’ originators are my own peers, members of younger generations. I suppose this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, uncertainties regarding religion seem to be a growing trend among our social category, as statistics show. In fact, according to the anecdotal sources I have encountered, it is these uncertainties that many cite as the reason Easter has lost its meaning. “Once you outgrow the Easter Bunny and religion Easter, just doesn't mean much,” is an example of quotes I have overheard, and with each similar line I hear I find myself taken aback. Not necessarily by the dismissal of religion, everyone has their opinions on faith and they have every right to those opinions; I am taken aback by my peers not seeing the apparent value in tradition.

From a sociological perspective nearly every aspect of a culture or society serves a purpose. This holds true for education, politics, entertainment, and religion, but can a holiday continue to serve a purpose to society if its religious significance is removed? I believe so. Holidays offer the opportunity to share tradition amongst the citizens of a culture. The youthful and the elderly alike come together in a celebration of common interests and to share their lives’ experiences with those close to them. The elders of a family or social group share stories of holidays past, information that many don’t see the value in until it is too late, and youths play amongst themselves in a way that helps them grow socially. These interactions are only enhanced when families branch out and share their holiday traditions with other families.

The value in these interactions amongst social groups cannot be overstated. In a world that seems to be moving forward at a dizzying pace, it is vital for members of a social congregation to take a moment and experience the simple joys of humanity with one another. These gatherings offer interactions vital to the development, at the micro level, of a family, and, at the macro level, of a society. This value does not change, regardless of your religious affiliation. Whether a group believes in a higher power or not, they cannot do without the need for the benefits offered by good old-fashioned traditional gatherings. Don’t believe in a higher power? Whatever, I really don’t care, turn Easter into a celebration of spring and the renewal of life. Let Christmas be an expose’ of good will towards men. Get your friends and family members together, share stories, sing songs, feast to your heart’s content. and just take a moment to share in the experiences of others and celebrate the glories of humanity with one another. It is in these precious moments that we remind ourselves what it means to be caring human beings. You don’t have to be religious to experience the joys of good conventions. In the end, that’s all we can offer to those that come after us, for long after we have passed and our names forgotten, tradition lives on.

1 comment:

  1. I understand the psychological benefits of a social gatherings, specifically among family members. However, I'd argue that everyone would have to carry a very liberal, and open outlook on their peers and family members. I understand that one could simply make the holiday into their own for the sake of their family, but that doesn't mean their idea of what the holiday should be will mesh.

    I feel like I can be a good example of my argument. I come from a very heavily christian family. I myself am completely atheist, and as my life has gone on I've become more comfortable with this fact. Now lets say for example, I visit my family for Easter and their traditions carry on what I whole heatedly deny. I could respectfully decline to take part in anything christian related, but that doesn't mean that would be met without confrontation. This is strictly only an example of family gatherings and not something among friends.

    I guess my point is that until everyone truly embodies everything freedom entails then one cannot simply make a conditioned holiday their own.

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