Why Are Family Traditions Important?

What are family traditions important

To begin this new series, I started with a question as my guide, “Why are family traditions important?” Maybe, like me, you have traditions in your family, but you aren’t exactly sure why or where they came from. In the first article of the series, I give an overview of the importance of traditions and include my interviews with several individuals who talk about the types of traditions and the importance of those customs in their families.

Why are traditions important?

By Adriana David
Steeple correspondent
For many people, traditions are something they participate in every year. They may be simple or lavish, but they always require some special prep work. “There is no “quick and dirty” tradition — good traditions require that we slow down and set aside significant time to accomplish them,” says psychiatrist Gregory K. Fritz. Although there are different types of traditions, ones that have the most meaning usually take great commitment.

As will be explained in my upcoming series, all types of traditions are important. In this new Americana Steeples series, the following topics regarding tradition will be covered: Food, Art, and Clothing. In these pieces, it won’t just be American traditions featured, but also examples of traditions and customs from all over the world!

Traditions surrounding food, art, and clothing may seem superficial at first glance; however, they are often bigger than we realize.

The author of “Soul Food: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life,” Frank Sonnenberg, says, “Tradition reinforces values such as freedom, faith, integrity, a good education, personal responsibility, a strong work ethic, and the value of being selfless.”

Traditions that are shared through family stories link generation to generation. Children who grow up hearing and sharing their family stories are firmly rooted in an identity and have a resiliency toward peer pressure and life’s obstacles, writes Dr. Teresa Trumbly Lamsam in her article about the importance of Sharing Family Stories.

In this series, I will reveal how traditions bond us together and support our values, both as individuals and as a society.

Before we talk more in this article about the importance and benefits of traditions, here’s a sneak peek at the upcoming series:

Importance of customs: Food

I chose to write about how food, art, and clothing in particular for several reasons.

First, I find it interesting that so many family traditions revolve around food in some way. For generations, families have gathered around the dinner table to share special moments, such as the time your sister announced she was engaged to the love of her life or the time your free-spirited brother announced he was going to go backpacking around the world.

Food has the ability to bond families and societies together like nothing else. Every day, families are creating new traditions at the dinner table.

Importance of customs: Art

Second, art is so encapsulating of the culture and is so vast. For example, art includes dance, film, poetry, and photography, among many other things. All four of these mediums will be discussed in “Art and Tradition,” one of our upcoming stories in this new series.

For example, in the Indian culture, film is extremely prominent. According to the World Economic Forum, Bollywood (Indian Cinema) actually releases many more films than Hollywood.

Importance of customs: Clothing

Last, clothing is so representative of whichever culture you find yourself being a part of. Traditional and cultural clothing varies around the world to a great extent. Everything from patterns to types of fabrics are inspired by culture and traditions.

What we wear everyday has much more to do with our culture than we think, even the worn-down jeans and t-shirt you wear on the weekends.

Why are family traditions important

In Uganda, community members perform traditional dances for social events and special ceremonies, such as weddings. Kenny Lule, a medical doctor and pastor at the Esuubi Community Church, says that each of the many tribes in Uganda practice traditional dances unique to their community.

Dr. Lule is the founder and executive director at Esuubi Community Outreach Ministry. The dancers in the photograph are from the Baganda tribe. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Lule)

Why are family traditions important

Traditions are what keep memories alive, even when the people that started them are gone. Traditions make it feel as if the person is still with us.

Stephanie Bushman

Omaha, Nebraska

How do family traditions strengthen families?

Growing up in a household without many traditions, I wanted to become aware of the importance of customs and learn about creating new traditions.

As I have found in my research, traditions are important because they bond families together. They give families a common experience. Regardless of cultural backgrounds and differences, family traditions reach far beyond any individual experience.

As someone who grew up with a lack of family traditions, I was curious to learn their role and benefit in our lives.

Dr. Teresa Trumbly Lamsam, creator of Americana Steeples, says that fishing is never something she really enjoyed in childhood, but fishing with her Grandpa Holly was worth being grossed out by worms and slimy fish! She says Grandpa Holly would be delighted to know that his great-grandson, Teresa’s son, has loved to fish ever since he was knee high to a grasshopper. At least someone is carrying on this family tradition, Teresa says – with a clear sigh of relief!

Family traditions create a sense of acceptance and safety

“I believe family traditions strengthen families by creating not only a sense of love but also acceptance and safety,” blogger Karen Ellis says. “It is something your family can count on.”

Her blog, Warrior Women, focuses on empowering women to be their best selves.

Some traditions are newly crafted, while others are passed down from generation to generation. Omaha-born Stephanie Bushman explains that she still observes half-birthdays as a way of celebrating people.

In her family, the practice of recognizing half-birthdays began with her great-grandmother, Helen. Stephanie will even sing “Happy Birthday” to people who are close to her on their half-birthdays.

Although Stephanie’s great-grandmother is no longer living, acknowledging half birthdays is a tradition that keeps her memory alive.

Examples of traditions and customs

To get a better idea of the kinds of family traditions, I went on a mission to find different experiences. Some traditions can seem simple on the outside, much like Laura Geschwender’s experience.

“I have many examples of traditions in my own family,” explains Laura, who lives in Omaha, Nebraska. “The most recent one is on Mother’s Day. My mom, dad, brother, sister and I all get together and get Bruegger’s Bagels’ Herby Turkey sandwiches for lunch and go on a picnic at Zorinsky Lake. We hang out there too, even though it was a little different this year.

“Another one that I can think of is for Christmas. My brother wakes both my sister and I up and then we wake our parents up and open stockings; then after breakfast we open presents!”

Lincoln, Nebraska, resident Tara Neaderhiser recalls that one of the Christmas Eve traditions she observes is eating hamburger pizza. This tradition began for her when her siblings worked at a Nebraska staple restaurant, Valentino’s.

After they had finished the pizza, Christmas Eve, Tara and her family would always attend Midnight Mass, where they would sing Christmas carols to ring in Christmas Day.

A few years later, Tara got the opportunity to work at Valentino’s herself. Tara still tries to eat hamburger pizza and go to Christmas Eve or Midnight Mass.

Traditions strengthen families by keeping them together and making awesome memories to talk about and look forward to and to look back on.

Laura Geschwender

Omaha, Nebraska

Why are family traditions important

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Everyone wins: What we gain from sharing family stories

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Read more

Why are family traditions important

Traditions that are shared with positivity and excitement can strengthen a family’s bond.  While times change, the traditions are something to look forward to and bring a smile to your face. Traditions may morph with time, but they are something that will be shared when good memories are found.  These memories make your family “you,” and that’s something worth keeping around.

Tara Neaderhiser

Lincoln, Nebraska

Why Are Family Traditions Important?

“I think family traditions are important, specifically for future generations, to hold on to so that the memories of loved ones are kept alive,” Stephanie Bushman says.

For example, it’s a common tradition in the U.S. to place flowers at a loved one’s grave site.

In Mexico, Dia de Los Muertos is a prime example of a remembrance tradition. Even here in Omaha, Nebraska, there are organizations that have yearly Dia de Los Muertos celebrations, such as the Intercultural Senior Center.

Remembrance is important in Tara’s family too. “Family traditions are important to me,” she says, “because they bring a sense of connection of the past to the present and future. They are something both young and old enjoy together and look forward to when the moments arise.  Our treasured traditions are looked upon as something special and unique to our family.”

“Traditions create positive memories for children,” according to an article on Childhelp, an organization committed to the care of abused, neglected, and at-risk children. “Children crave the warmth and promise that comes with traditions. They anchor family members to each other and provide a sense of belonging.”

Those anchors to family are important to Laura. “Family traditions are important because it’s good to keep in touch with family and have fun with each other as long as you can,” she says.

When traditions and customs are unique to each and every family and not just something that is copied from another family, they will be more special. In this way, each family can be creative and set new traditions into motion.

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Wholistic wellness

Adriana David

Adriana David is a 2018 Journalism graduate of the University of Nebraska Omaha. She has had unique and irreplaceable experiences inside and outside of the church. She also is interested in the areas of diversity, disability, and international affairs.

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    1. Thank you so much! I agree, no phones at the table is a very smart rule of thumb!

    2. I am a HUGE advocate for family traditions. We had a lot growing up and if it weren’t for me, I think most of them would have died off. Must be an oldest sibling thing 😉

      1. Hi Bre! Thank you for reading. I’m so happy to hear that you are keeping Traditions alive in your family!

    3. This was a great read. I read something about why traditions are so important a long time ago and I decided to make my own family traditions because I had grown up in so much dysfunction. One tradition that we have can be a daily occurrence. One person will say I love you, the next person will say I love you more, and then the first person will say I love you mostest and bestest ha ha I won. The loser will then sing, “you win my love, you male my motor run, you win my love, yeah you’re number one, oh oh ho oh.” My kids really love this and it gives us something special and unique we can share as a family.

      1. Joni, that is such a meaningful everyday tradition. I’m so happy you have that to share as a family

    4. Thank you for this post! I have let family traditions slip a bit but after reading this post ,you have made me hunger to foster them again.

  1. Enjoyed this post! As a blended family, making traditions was one do the things I wanted to establish pretty quickly when my husband and I got married. One of my favorite traditions is “Birthday Breakfast.” Who ever has a birthday gets to pick their birthday feast and the rest of the family gets to prepare it! It’s a special time that allows us to celebrate the birthday boy (or girl)!

    1. Breakfast is one of my favorite meals! I would love to have this option! I’m in a 3-generation family now, and I think this could be a great traditions to start!

  2. I think family tradtions is important cause it sets value, and it shows how you value your family. As a new mother I thought alot about traditions and what I wanted to give my kid, and the best one we have is sunday breakfast. We always set a side some hours for eachother, even now when the kid is 17 🙂

    1. Hi Ann. I agree completely that Traditions set value! I love the idea of Sunday Breakfasts.

    1. Hi Christina,
      Thank you so much for reading! I agree that Traditions can teach us so much about our past.

  3. As a mom and wife I believe in starting our own traditions. It’s nice to hand down to your kids and also helps you bond more as a family.

    1. Hi Ashley! Thank you for reading. I love how you say that traditions help us bond, that is so true!

  4. Family tradition is so important to me and to my whole family because by doing that you are able to keep and share the memories and stories of your clan to your family future generations.

    1. Hi Gervin,
      Thank you so much for reading. I agree completely, having Traditions to be able to have stories and memories is so important!

  5. I never realised the importance of family traditions up until recently, with everything going on at the moment, traditions may one day be taken away from us! So I am paying more attention now

    1. Hi Emily,
      Thank you so much for reading! I am glad you are paying attention to Traditions.

  6. I grew up in a house that had few traditions. And I think that is why we have had many new traditions in our household. It has been fun to see what new traditions emerged based on what my kids thought, did, loved, or hated. And it’s cool to see how all of the members of a family can influence what turn into life long traditions.

    1. Hi Marie! Thank you for reading. I’m so happy you are establishing new traditions with your family based on your children’s preferences!

  7. I admit, my immediate family is very un-traditional. We just kind of do our own thing. But I would like to start adding some types of tradition so my son can have fond memories and ideas for his future family. This is a great reminder!

    1. Hi Melanie. Thank you so much for your kind words! I grew up similarly to you. I am glad you want to start implementing some Traditions in your family.

  8. Growing up my family tradition was to get together for Christmas time and the middle of the summer. We have a really big family so it was always nice to see what each other is up to.

    1. Hi Melodie! Thank you for reading and sharing! I love family reunions and get-togethers too.

  9. I agree with you. Traditions are rituals families engage in over and over. … They lend a certain spirit that nurtures the family connection, giving us a sense of belonging and helping us celebrate generations of family. More importantly, traditions create positive memories for children.

    1. Hi! Thank you for reading. I agree that Traditions create positive memories for children.

  10. Family tradition are one of the most important thing in my life. We always have our Sunday gathering with my sister and her kids.

    1. We have a wonderful 4th of July tradition and that is to throw a clambake for our family and friends. Everybody looks forward to it, it’s a great day, the food is awesome and the fellowship is beautiful. It’s a great tradition! In I hope it’s one that our children will carry on into the future.

  11. The familiarity and comfort of family traditions are not to be underestimated!

  12. Well, these days, I examine anything to do with tradition and culture. I recognise a lot of wrong has been passed on from one generation to another and this has brought in immense damage.

    1. Hello! Thank you so much for reading. I understand your point of view and agree! As individuals, we do certainly have to examine each Tradition we see observed and use great judgement is deciding if it is moral and useful in creating memories and experiences.

  13. Family traditions are so important and help build a bond within the family. I have loved creating new traditions with our children and the memories we have together! ❤

    1. Hi Donna! Thank you so much for reading. I am so glad you have great memories and experiences you can share with your family.

    1. Hi Karen! Thank you so much for reading. I agree completely, we as humans are meant for relationship!

  14. This is really interesting! I grew up with so many family traditions versus my husband didn’t, and I really like family traditions!! I never thought about how those traditions helped create stability and straightened our family, but they really did! This has given me new resolve to create traditions this year with our toddler! Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Hi Jenny! Thank you so much for reading. I am so happy that you have been inspired to create traditions for your child! That is lovely to hear.

  15. Traditions and customs in food are so important. It dictates the appearance and taste of the food. It’s so important to also take note of the original recipe.

    1. Hi Emman! Thank you so much for reading. There is so much tradition when it comes to food. One of the parts in my series will be on food and culture. I am excited for it!

  16. I love family traditions. They are so important and it keeps a family legacy going!

    1. Hi Lily! Thank you so much for reading. I certainly agree that great traditions lead to a great legacy!

  17. Family traditions are very important, that is the only way to keep and maintain culture from going extinct in generations next to come.

    1. Hi! Thank you so much for reading. Traditions are certainly a great way to keep culture going through generations!

  18. Amazing post. Reading this broght back lots of memories of family tradition, it is taken seriously in the part of the world that I come from (Nigeria), it strengthens cultural values and promotes bond and unity.
    Thanks for sharing this very insightful topic.

    1. Hi Hannah! Thank you so much for reading. I am so glad you were reminded of your home! I love that your culture and country promotes tradition.

  19. We did not have a lot of family traditions in my house growing up so it was nice to read about some. It makes me want to start my own with my family!

  20. I agree that establishing family traditions is important for a healthy family. My husband and I began the tradition of family walks 8 years ago and still take our children out each evening that the weather is nice. We’ve had some of the best times laughing and smiling together on those walks <3

    1. This is a brilliant idea! I think we (my family) need to keep this up even after the pandemic. My walks are now with elderly parents, so the heat becomes a factor. However, we can certainly try to work around the heat. You just inspired me to work on this!

  21. What a wonderful read! Yes, traditions connect you with family and they become so important in a child’s life. One of our family’s traditions is “Family Movie Night.” We watch a movie together while eating dinner every Friday evening. But I have also enjoyed incorporating a tradition from my Guatemalan heritage, making Cascarones for easter. These are emptied eggshells full of confetti that you then smash on each other’s heads. It is a blast and it makes our Easter a little different than everyone else’s.

    1. Those eggs sound like a blast! We often have movie nights! Watching movies as a group is so much more fun than watching solo!

  22. I feel like we all need something to hold on to from our past…as long as it isn’t hurtful to others. The way this world is and will continue going, we will need them!

  23. Great post! Growing up, my family had so many traditions that we still try to carry on today. Unfortunately this year, so many traditions in our family have “looked different” or have been switched up to accommodate for family gatherings not happening due to covid, however, maybe something we’ve started in this unusual time will be the first of a new tradition to come. Who knows! 🙂

  24. We have family traditions every year. and we called it family reunion, all families have color-themed T-shirts, we have a lot of fun games, foods and sharing stories with each other. All our family near us also joined us. and it’s so much fun.

  25. I am from the United States and my husband is from El Salvador. We have lived back and forth between the 2 countries during our 14 years of marriage, as have our kids, which is neat in a way, because we have two very different cultures, and we enjoy educating our kids on the traditions and celebrations of both countries.

  26. I love this article, it was such a good read and I could not agree with you more, as family traditions help build our identity for sure x

  27. Family traditions are so important. I especially agree with your first picture example: praying together. I have so many favorite traditions / memories of childhood family fun.

  28. We moved around a lot when I was growing up, so we had few traditions. Thanksgiving with extended family most years brings the warmest memories, though. I thank God for those!

  29. Excited for the rest of this “Why Are Family Traditions Important?” series! Food and holidays are family traditions that my grandmother put in place and I still try to carry out with my family.

  30. Family traditions are so amazing to create and to enjoy from previous years. I don’t even realize how much I appreciate them until some of them are gone never to be relived. Thank you for this information about the importance of family traditions.

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