The Power Of Traditions
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Politics and Activism

The Power Of Traditions

Unifying us through our differences

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The Power Of Traditions
Cafe Escadrille

Traditions represent a diverse range of practices, behaviors and events, symbolizing central values of various cultures. Despite race, religion and gender, we all engage in some form of tradition at one point or another. Whether it be gathering with the family around the dinner table every night, celebrating Chinese New Years, or expression through art, tradition is a universal and exclusive occurrence every human interacts with in a unique way.

Literally, the word tradition means: "the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way". It serves as a portal between generations, allowing contemporary kin to connect to ancestors that passed long before their existence, and families of the same lifetime to celebrate one another. It's an unrivaled excuse to engage with your culture, and remind yourself of moral priorities to preserve provisional experiences that otherwise would be skewed by memory.

They truly are beautiful rituals; the traditions I've been lucky to be a part of are always associated with love, family and fun. They're places and events where it's acceptable, no encouraged to forget life's unrelenting stressors, to focus on the present, to appreciate your lack of solitude in a world that can be so isolating. And while I typically think of traditions through the filter of fondness, I often forget (and I'm sure I’m not alone in this) that traditions can also unintentionally create a divide, a degree of separation.

For example, Christmas is one of my favorite days, or seasons as we can't seem to pack all necessary customs into one day. From drinking hot chocolate and wandering through urban vines of red and green lights, to watching Santa Claus movies while eating tree-shaped cookies, the days overflow with joy and warm moments. This time of year is exceptionally special for my family, but for others it's a reminder of their differences; I have Jewish friends and Muslim friends and friends with religious beliefs I can't recall the names of, and on this day and during this season they are continually reminded that they don't celebrate what we do, that they don't believe what we do. But it doesn't have to be this way.

Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to bridge the gap, to merge groups like yours with those that are less familiar; further to eradicate this divide of "groups" in general. While extremely deviated from its historical roots, Thanksgiving presents a beautiful purpose. It's a day spent stepping beyond chaos, egocentric attitudes and narrowed perspectives. A day where we think of others even if it's through thinking of ourselves. A day dedicated to the realization of the infinite and global collaboration providing your fortunes. A day that should share focus with those who don't necessarily celebrate it themselves. I'm not by any means condoning the enforcement of Thanksgiving traditions upon those who don't choose to celebrate (whatever their reasoning may be), rather asking you to take a moment to consider traditions extraneous to your own. Let this day of thanks provide a nonpartisan, unbiased medium for respecting other cultures, and the empowerment their traditions bring them.

Culture and tradition are imperative for continued diversity of thoughts, beliefs and actions. But they don't have to separate us. Respect those from other traditions like you respect your own traditions. Especially in this dire time exploiting divide in our country, I urge you to be thankful for the comforts, riches, and opportunities your traditions have brought you, and to acknowledge from an impartial eye, the gifts it may bring others.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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