Traditions: we’ve all got ‘em. They might be family dinners on special occasions, or having a particular kind of cake on your birthday (Jeanne Cake, natch), or popcorn at the movies, or meeting your friend for a 5k run in the park, rain or shine, every Sunday morning. What are your favorite traditions, large and small? What is it about your traditions that keep them going strong for you?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us RITUAL.
Look, one of the local traditions are now again appearing in the food departments of the shops. It seems to me that our traditions arrive earlier and earlier each year. When I moved to this country in the middle of Europe known as Switzerland I met a lot of new and unknown traditions. One was that April and May are the asparagus times of the year. Mr. Swiss inaugurated me into this event and so Mrs. Angloswiss learned how to cook this curious vegetable. I did know it from England, only the tinned variety. Now you can even buy it in England, but perhaps just 5-6 at a time for a horrendous price. The first arrival of asparagus in our local supermarket was last week.
“Look” I said to Mr. Swiss “you can get asparagus again.”
“Already” was the answer
“What about an asparagus risotto this week for lunch” I asked.
“Yes, definitely” and so Mr. and Mrs. (Anglo)Swiss bought a kilo of asparagus. Yes, we buy it kilo wise in this country of Helvetians. The asparagus that arrived on our table in the form of an asparagus risotto originated in Mexico. “That is a long way from Switzerland” you are thinking, but that is today’s modern life. Our traditions are disappearing at the cost of cold storage, long distance flights, and globalisation. Who cares? I even saw strawberries in the store, nice and red, probably not so juicy and I did not even bother to discover where they had their origins. Switzerland grows enough strawberries when it is the season (around May and June?).
Being originally a Brit I suppose I was saturated in traditions. The Queen and her trooping of the colour, hot cross buns at Easter, The Grand National (an annual horse race over hurdles), the football cup final and probably a few others. Mum was very much into traditions because that was how we did it and so well all had to do it that way. A world fell apart for her if things did not go how she wanted them.
I did not miss the Queen when I arrived in Switzerland and I am sure she did not miss me. I did not miss my Christmas turkey. It was not such a Swiss thing and Christmas in Switzerland is upside down compared to the British way of life. Mum and dad visited us at Christmas in Switzerland, but I do not think Mum was happy. It was tradition to have real burning wax candles on the Christmas Tree in the evenings in Switzerland, so I was confronted with English mum saying “isn’t it dangerous”, “aren’t you frightened that the tree will go up in flames” and so I reassured her that we had a bucket of water ready in the bathroom. The idea of celebrating on Christmas Eve was also not her thing. She would have preferred the Christmas Day lunch with the turkey and all the trimmings, and where are the Christmas Crackers. I explained that Christmas Crackers were an English thing.
I do not do traditions as such, I like variety in my life. Being a golden oldie can be boring if you sit around and wait for the next tradition to appear on the horizon. Of course, we have our little habits in Swiss family Anglo. Today I broke with a tradition and am writing my daily prompt outside on the porch. The sun was shining and Spring signals were everywhere. Unfortunately the sun has now disappeared and there is a sharp wind blowing so it is now bloody cold to say it frankly.
I will now retire to the inside and practice my Tai Chi exercises to warm up the body and soul. Now my mum did not even know what Tai Chi was, so that is a break with tradition.
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