With Easter and Passover being celebrated this week, I have to reflect on the importance of tradition. My siblings and I are “the next” generation to host these mighty dinners. Some may question: why bother? Do we really need to have such an elaborate dinner? These dinners are not an easy under-taking. They are only complete with two meats, three potatoes, four vegetable dishes and five desserts. They include taking the time to cook from scratch, baking and cooking far in advance. In addition to all of the baking and cooking, you also have to organize the dishes – using the “good dishes”, crystal and the silverware that can’t be tossed in the dishwasher. With today’s busy lifestyle, how has the time or the energy?
I believe that doing these is the foundation of family and traditions are the backbone of all families and cultures. They are what keeps us close and connected. They allow us to reflect on the old memories while at the same time making new ones. We actually communicate with our relatives face to face and not over Facebook! These are the times to pass on family values and history. To learn about the incredible past of our ancestors. Who came to Canada (we all did), when and how. How your great grandparents met and what they had to endure in the times of their lives. These great grandparents and grandparents worked hard for us to have the lives that we have – and in fact, the china and crystal we own and should use. Let’s honour them.
I remember going to my Aunt Zib’s tiny little 500 square foot house in the north end for the holidays. She had a small range oven and no other family assisting, but managed to create a feast for thirty people. She was amazing. My Mom, too, having to deal with three kids, learned all of the family recipes and hosted the masses with ease, style and grace.
These women inspire me and make me believe in the importance of tradition. I know that as much as a pain it may seem is in the work and time leading up to it, the family dinner is important and such a great investment. It builds strong families, memories and closeness.
So this week as you have been slaving over a hot stove, polishing silverware, combing through recipe books or griping about peeling potatoes, remember that not everyone has this privilege. Not everyone has the gift of family, of tradition, of this history and love. Soak it up, enjoy and continue to honour your family – past, present and future.