Tuesday, 28 July 2015

How tradition helps soothe the soul

I did something on the weekend I've never done before. No, nothing sinister or illegal. I roasted chestnuts on an open fire.



At the moment, it's late July and winter in Australia. My husband had been working away from home for the week and I wanted to do something special for dinner to make him feel glad to be home. But special for us doesn't usually mean a fancy 5 star restaurant. It's usually something homey like a really good home cooked meal. I like to reconnect with the earth by baking, so we set up the outdoor fire pit and I bought chestnuts and a roasting rack. It was such a simple thing to do, and because of its simplicity it worked a trick in boosting both our spirits. 

This brings me to the topic of tradition. Literature is steeped in in.  From Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" to J K Rowlings' "Harry Potter"  series to Helen Fielding's "Bridget Jones 's Diary", Christmas is filled with turkey, pudding, tacky gifts. We can't imagine Christmas without Santa, without reindeer, without a Christmas tree. Even though  Christmas in Australia is blistering hot and nobody is senseless enough to cook a turkey, and we have cold meats and cold salads and cold drinks. Yet we still see value in the traditional of cooking up a huge feast and gathering around the dinner table.

Tradition is the transmission of custom or belief from generation to generation.

Traditionally, print books were all we had and they were bought in book stores, but these days we can shop online, we can download books. The way we buy goods is changing. There are still people who cling to print books. There are people who have never purchased anything BUT ebooks.

The world is changing. To say that change is bad is naïve. The need for animal and human rights dictates global change. The environment has rights and this promotes change. What was done simply because we always did that way is coming under the test. Some things will survive. Some will not.

It's 18 weeks or so until Christmas and over the years this has become Happy Holidays or something else generic. Whatever it's called, people  in colder climates will still roast turkeys and chestnuts, and people in warmer climates will celebrate with champagne and prawns.

We are in the middle of a culture shift. During this time people rely on tradition to give them a sense of comfort and warmth, and the courage to embrace change. We are embracing old traditions and creating new ones. Change is both good and bad, but change is always inevitable. In order to grow and develop, we need to embrace change.

But it's still okay to question whether any change is simply for the sake of change or if it's for our growth and development.

In the meantime, I was able to partake in a tradition from the northern hemisphere and it brought a little magic to the night. If I looked up on the sky I could imagine Santa and his reindeer flying across the starry sky. I had a lot of dun, it was simple and it helped my husband and I connect after a week apart.

What new traditions are you embracing? And what old ones will you refuse to give up?
 
Enjoy your day!
D L
 
 
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ABOUT ME
 
I write speculative fiction. I've published young adult novels, a horror novellas, short stories in a range of genres but mostly science fiction, and I don't ever want to stop writing. I'm passionate about sharing my experiences with other writer through workshops and conferences. My other loves are music and animals. I live in Australia on the NSW south coast with my husband and dog. When I'm not writing I can found in the garden, renovating the house, playing my musical instruments, or walking the dog.
 

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