What would a one year old toddler understand as people gather around her, and mom and dad point at a burning candle and a cake? At that age who would understand the relevance of a cake, or a candle or a party or even the people singing a birthday song for you… I didn’t. I was like that till five years, I guess, oblivious of the fact of my surroundings and my age.
That was till I was five and after that I became a little aware of these words: birthday, age, cake, flavor, party and gifts. I thought that birthday was equivalent to gifts (birthday=gifts; and not, birthday= age) and not age. Age was just a factor of getting the right gift from parents.
Till eighteen and twenty it really meant something. I really looked forward towards this day of the year as it meant so many things. It meant growing up. It meant a step towards my independence (but not complete independence). It meant I could drink, have night outs, have boyfriends and all the things that I could not do as a child.
Then there was the phase of early twenties, which was obviously good and exciting. It meant new life, career, dreams, ambitions, car, house, marriage and life after that. Mid twenties was able to bring some panic into me, but I stayed strong and managed. And so it was only after twenty five that I started believing that age is just a number. So, that’s what I started doing whenever I blew the birthday candles I just believed that I was twenty five and ever since I’ve stayed twenty five. Now please don’t take my word for it; it only means that I look much younger than other people of my age. The funny part is people are not able to guess my real age (so I guess it really works…staying young at heart, believing that it is just a number and whatever to make you feel good) So, do I care? I think earlier I use to, but now I don’t…it is just a number and I’m happy to continue my life’s journey.
You cannot buy traditions, that’s a good thing, however, you could make one, that’s sounds comforting to me. They are simple to maintain (not always but sometimes). All you need to do is carry on a past one or introduce a new one or in some case totally drop it or find a long lost one and start it again…it could be your version or the real one itself. I’m perfectly fine with either of the options.
Traditions for me always revolve around a festival (that would mean Christmas). Like my grandmother distributed gifts after the morning mass on 25th of December to all the children of the house (it had to be morning, not evening and it had to be 25th and not 24th evening or night although we used to be awake for carol singers). My mom started keeping gifts under the tree on 24th of December. Timing was very important over here; it had to be 24th midnight and it never changed to early 25th morning, at least till the time I was living with her it was like this. It made me feel like those movies where Santa was keeping the gifts, except we knew that there was no Santa.
I have stuck with my mom’s version and keep gifts for the guests and family members under the tree; for the visiting guests and children I hang sweets on the tree. Perhaps I would carry grandmother’s version when I become one.
Sundays are family days, everyone likes to relax a bit, energize and prepare themselves for the week ahead. Turning the Sundays into fun days is easy but I’ve introduced a lost tradition which was started by my grandmother and carried by my mom. That is, to have a small family prayer on Sunday evenings. I used to pray alone but now I feel praying together has brought us closer. It also gives inner peace and strength not only to me but to the others as well.
I hope to find a few other lost ones in the family. I think, I would if I rack my brains a little more