Taking Back Tradition

*I have not posted in a while; this is due to the fact that I am in the process of creating a more focused blog, which will cater to a small range of categories, not a variety of experiences, thoughts and ganders.*

This idea came to me the other day, it has come to me often, but it truly hit home recently. Many people do not see what they currently have, when they actually realize it, it is too late and too far gone. Tradition is what many are not seeing in our most current society, it is okay to make our own traditions, well more than okay. What is not okay is when we lose the traditions we were brought up with and disregard them, thinking of them as a burden, or something we no longer need to practice.

If there is one thing that boggles my mind, it is that people are so neglecting towards tradition. I get it, over time things change, and we start branching out of our own cultures and experience other cultures, but why dismiss our own traditions?

Growing up, tradition was everywhere in my family, from Sunday lunch, greeting family with a kiss or even just having knowledge of your grandparent’s upbringing, their maiden names and the names of their parents. Ask a child this information today, they most likely will not even know their grandmothers maiden name.

Unfortunately, some parents cannot be bothered to practice tradition, which passes onto their children, eventually leading to a new generation of lost traditions.

Maybe we should call them generation lost, they do not have their own practices, they do not have something that sets them apart from someone else and they do not have something to share with their class when they talk about traditional holiday foods they ate.

Do your children a favour, do your grandchildren a favour and do yourself a favour, bring back the tradition.

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Very Superstitious

Superstitions…I know they are something that many do not believe in, but when you have grown up in the family I grew up in, you would find it very difficult to not live by these superstitions. Many of us go through these phases thinking that superstitions are not important and merely made up by our ancestors. But, in the back of your mind these acts we defy will stick with us until we convince ourselves they are true.

Being at my nonna’s house or being at home taught me many different superstitions, some that you may think, how in the hell was this one formed? Or just question why it even exists. I remember the sheer panic that would come over me when I broke one of the many rules, or when my nonna would point it out. The superstitions stem mostly from my mother’s side of the family, and as strange as many may feel about them, I love it because to me they are tradition.

Here are some of the superstitions that I live by!

Do not sit at the corner of a table – this is a huge superstition that I remember and I still live by. When you do notice that you are sitting at the corner you basically start to sweat because the curse surrounding this is that you will never get married! My nonna Lucia is someone that taught me this one, and I would get confused when I would be sitting at a corner and she would say I want to switch seats with you. After sitting at the cursed corner you basically just hope that you will eventually get married and hope that by noticing the mistake you have made the curse will be cancelled out!

Do not sleep with your feet at the door – there was a time I wanted to rearrange my room. I thought wow! This would be the perfect idea! I will have my bed facing the door. One restless night I rearranged my furniture so that the end of my bed was closest to the door, which would have my feet facing the door. Well was that a mistake or was that a mistake! When my mother saw, she was panicked by this arrangement! My bedroom rearrangement meant that I was inviting death to my family. This meant that I would need to rearrange my room once again to remove this curse.

If a bird hits the window – this is a big one for the summer months. With windows being all over homes and birds flying around, birds sometimes slam into windows. Well, that’s okay if the bird hits the window, but what is not okay about this is if the bird hits the window and dies. This means that death is at your doorstep. So in the summer when we hear that big bang from a poor little bird, the first reaction is to not see if the window cracked, or if the bird is injured, but if the bird is dead.

Do not accept knives as a gift –  this means that when you have a housewarming party or a wedding shower and someone gives you knives, be sure to give them money in return. If you do not and you use the knives, this person will become your enemy. In the case the person does not accept the money, be sure to never use the knives or else this curse will fall upon you. This is why I wondered why my nonna had a new set of knives from the 90s that had not even been touched once. The individual that gave her the knives refused to accept her money, therefore the knives were untouched.

Do not knock over salt – do you ever cook and knock the salt over? Well if you do you better be sure to throw it over your shoulder immediately. While working at Starbucks and making salted caramel drinks, I was never sure if sea salt constituted as the salt that would be considered in this category, but every time I knocked it over I was sure to throw it over my shoulder because I was not having bad luck come my way.

Do not put scissors or shoes on the bed – our first instinct when carrying shopping bags in to our room or cutting a tag off of clothing is to put the bags or scissors on the bed. Rethink this because when you do such a thing you are bringing bad luck to yourself. So next time you are about to put these items on your bed think twice.

Sip your drink after you make a toast and cheers with others – never, ever put your drink down before sipping it, oh and make sure that you make eye contact with everyone too. You want to ensure that directly after you are done with your clinging and clanking (while looking into everyone’s eye) you are sipping that drink before it hits the table!

Touch steel and knock on woodwas something just said to you and you thought, God forbid! Well if so, you better touch steel “tocca ferro” or knock on wood in order to prevent anything bad that you think could possibly happen. There are many times this happens to me and I have to search for something steel or wood in order to put my mind at ease.

Did you dream your tooth fell out – whatever you do, do not tell nonna you dreamt of your tooth falling out. This will cause nonna to worry for days because this means that a death is upon your family. My nonna Lucia can tell you now that there are people that have died after a loved one dreamt of a tooth falling out. Beware of this dream, because it will have you frightened as well.

The amount of superstitions I live by are out of control and no matter what, I do not think I could ever break my thought process on these. These are like traditions to me and I love tradition, so stopping the way I live seems unrealistic. I know that in the back of my mind if something does happen, I will be thinking why didn’t I follow the rules of superstitions?

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Sunday Lunch

Last night it hit me, the thoughts I have been trying to get out of my head came back, and it was a downward spiral from there. All I could think about was pulling up around 12:30 pm Sunday after Sunday, checking to see who got there first. The long drive-way filled with cars, all trying to squeeze in. Some sitting on the porch on a warm summer afternoon, while others are crowded around the gnocchi all perfectly laid out on the table downstairs, watching her do what she did ever so amazingly. I do not want to get her out of my mind, but it hurts to think that it is all memory and no longer reality.

To think back at all of those Sundays, I think they were taken for granted, I think we always thought we would have another Sunday, and another Sunday. Sundays were the days I loved, wake up early, sometimes go to church, grab a quick coffee, drink it fast before we would arrive to avoid the famous line “How do you drink that Canadian shit,” then all sit around and wait to indulge in the feast. Never would we assist in cooking, the most we could do was dress the salad with oil, vinegar and salt, to tasting the artichokes to see if they had enough salt. But we were restricted from lifting a finger.

Other than that, we sat and laughed, as the most powerful woman I ever knew would power through the basement, walking from stove to stove as all burners were in use, including the ovens, ensuring that everything was right on schedule. You look back and think how did she do it? How was she able to cook for all of us?

When dinner was ready we would all herd upstairs, carrying up some basement chairs to the table that was set so beautifully. We would all sit in our regular spots, sometimes having to add plates because she invited a neighbour over, or someone would pop in. There was always an excess of food, so we never worried about not having enough for uninvited guests, because we all knew she made double so we would be able to take home left-overs.

But there we were, sitting there, all around the table, as we all sat, she still continued to work, placing our first meal onto our plates, but don’t worry if you didn’t have a taste for gnocchi; she had something else waiting for you. And the work never stopped, because once person by person started to finish their first meal, she would offer seconds, and basically force you to say yes, but if you managed to get away with only having one serving, that’s when the overload of more food came, the table was full, having  selection from every food group.

Thinking back, I think why didn’t I just stop for one more moment to take it all in? Why didn’t I just hold the precious Sundays closer to me? It’s not that I didn’t appreciate them, but I just wish I could have one more Sunday lunch with her, one more Sunday lunch with us all there and her the star of the day.

I guess we can’t look back and regret, but what we can do is look back and realize that we were the luckiest people, to have someone so amazing, wanting to do so much for us, someone who spent their life dedicating herself to us.  Nonna