What does tradition mean to you?
- Published: January 13, 2023
This year, we asked our readers to share some of their most-loved traditions with us — old, new, lost and missed — and what tradition means to them. Below are the responses we received — as well as a few submissions from News staff.
Most of October we were coughing from some respiratory thing, then, in early December we came down with COVID for the first time. We pulled through just in time to put together a family holiday with cookies and turkey, candles and gifts. On Christmas Day we all took a sub-zero walk on the frozen river sparkling with sunshine, and a week later, on a mild, misty New Year’s Day, watched a heron fishing in the flowing water. Traditions for me are about nurturing relationships, honoring the beauty of each season and celebrating the turning of the wheel of life.
Traditions are those things to which I return to find comfort in an ever-changing world. The yearly vacation to a favorite get-away spot, gathering with close friends to celebrate a cluster of same-month birthdays, taking a friend who does not drive to her favorite restaurant once a year, the annual golf trip with our Taylor League foursome, the Thanksgiving Zoom with family members who are now flung far and wide. As I write this list, I’m now realizing my traditions revolve around friends, travel, family and food. Bet I’m not the only one who will mention these categories.
I always take a run on New Year’s Day and clean up champagne bottles around YS. —Matthew Raska
A true joy — and a life changing event for me — was the return of the traditional, annual, in-person Antioch College Alumni Reunion in July 2022. I had barely ventured out of the house in two-and-a-half years, yet when I heard Antioch planned to host an in-person reunion again, I was all in! Being at the reunion reconnected me with Antioch, Antiochians, and with many dear ones and meaningful places from my 29 years of life in Yellow Springs. And the reunion got me back out into the world. Thank you, Antioch College!
I do long for the return of the traditional Yellow Springs Community Thanksgiving, though a couple of new traditions for me fill my heart with love, and with hope for the future — an annual hike in Glen Helen with Yellow Springer Jamie and his leashed cat Bennie, along with an annual visit to the Women’s Park in Yellow Springs. (Thank you to the late Gene Trolander and the current volunteers who maintain this gem of a park!)
A tradition I plan to continue is deepening a relationship with growing ancestral medicinal herbs that have significant transatlantic cultural importance to African American culture. I plan to grow hibiscus, native to West Africa, while also honoring endangered native plants like goldenseal and American ginseng — growing them to ensure their continued presence as a species.
As we face our first Christmas without any of our children at home for the holidays, ages 26, 29 and 30, what can I say? I anticipate 2023. Perhaps we will have them all here then, with the addition of a granddaughter!
So, with a marriage, we have the new tradition of every-other-year holidays.
I’m grateful for at least this. Until then, stay warm and healthy as best you can.
I look forward to sharing holidays with my family and friends, particularly as we lead up to our 10th year hosting a New Year’s Eve party for friends. I also am looking forward to Perry League, a true example of an inclusive community. Thanks in advance to the organizers!
This is a tradition since 1,500 years ago that people kept and continue to keep:
Chan Master Cloud of Vows (Song Dynasty)
For countless years the bitter stew of hate goes boiling on,
Its vengeful broth is ocean deep, impossible to calm.
To learn the cause of so much conflict, terror, hate and war,
Listen to the cries at midnight by the butcher’s door.
As immigrants we left many of our traditions behind us. However, it has been a lot of fun to invent new ones over the last 17 years. Starting new traditions is exciting and I hope our kids will embrace inventing traditions. This year I started a tradition of bringing my friend Shawnee a mason jar of peony blooms when the bush at her Dad’s old place blossoms. I’d like to continue this as long as I can.
A new tradition my family started in 2021 — and which I hope will continue this year — is taking a leisurely trip down the Little Miami River in kayaks with some of my husband Anthony’s family in the summer. There are moments of group joy, like when we point out sunning turtles on nearby logs to one another, but there’s also time for solitude as we each are moved along by the river in our individual watercraft. I like to have a bag of Cheetos and some lofi hip hop on hand for maximum chill.
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