Do you feel forced to follow tradition? An epiphany on Epiphany!

After a few weeks of writer’s block, it finally hit me. Don’t you love that moment when something comes to you and all you want to do is grab a keyboard ( *smiles*) and write a blog post about it. Well here it comes. I had my epiphany, ironically enough on Epiphany!

One of my readers figured out some of my origins after reading my blog post about eating consciousness. No wonder, all that mention about eating rabbit and cow’s tongue and liver as a child gave it away. Yes I am partly French. My whole adult life, I have had issues with how to keep up with traditions. As I mentioned in previous posts, the first dilemma came when we had to figure out whether to celebrate Christmas or not. Well I figured that out. But there are so many other things. For me and my husband, a few issues come to mind. First, we’re not Catholic but both had at least one Catholic parent, then when it comes to me, I was raised in a home where food WAS a national TRADITION! I’m not joking. So, even after having figured out that we didn’t have to celebrate some religious holidays, food is always a reminder or even an excuse. Like today. Today is Epiphany. I grew up celebrating Epiphany. My mom was not really a practicing Catholic but in France, it was tradition to get the Galette with the fève inside. Whoever got the fève was crowned King or Queen. Also, every time you would visit someone during the whole month of January, you would have to bring a galette. Whoever got the fève was the next one to buy the galette. It went on until the end of the month. We also have until the end of the month to wish Happy New Year. Anytime afterwards was bad taste.

I continued all the traditions I grew up with (well most of them) because it is heart warming and I wanted share my culture with my family and kid.

After a few years, I now find those traditions more as chores and duties. I went to bed last night thinking, “oh shit, tomorrow is Epiphany, I have to go get a galette I guess” excuse my language but that is really what I thought. I started wondering where I would get it, where the best one is at, which store has the cheapest…. AND because of my new vegan diet, I honestly had no desire to even eat it. It was Christmas all over again. At Christmas, I bought a bûche de Noel but I wasn’t excited about eating it. I looked forward to my vegetables a lot more.  Traditions are legacies, I get it. But we change, people change, so why do I feel so guilty by just thinking about NOT getting a Bûche de Noel or a Galette? I think it is because all those things were fun for me as a child, but I am not a child anymore and I could care less if I eat a galette on a Holiday I don’t even believe in. I am a closeted double hypocrite. So here, I am out. I am not Catholic and I celebrate Catholic holidays just because I did when I was younger even though it was mostly because of the fun and for the food and now I force myself to do it for my kid.

Don’t get me wrong. I do like traditions but after a while, it is time to move on. For example, we used to celebrate Easter, but now we no longer go for the Easter egg hunt. We graduated from that tradition. I never baked beignet on Mardi Gras like my grandmother used to. That’s ok. I don’t make crepes that often either which probably explain why I am not rich since the tradition is that if you make crepe on a certain day, you’re supposed to be rich all year. I think I have to stop being so hard on myself. Another reason why I kept those traditions for so long even when they annoyed me was because my mother would make me feel guilty about not being in France anymore. I think she was afraid my kid would not have enough reminders of where we came from. That could not be further from the truth. We all know where we come from and we cherish it. What is more important though to us is who we are today as people. Who we are is not defined by traditions. I love my origins and I will always cherish them but I see myself more as a part of the human race than as a National of a specific country or a follower of a specific faith. We did a great job raising our child that way. This might anger some people, but I find it wrong to force kids to say the pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag every day in school. We love our country very very much in our house. 9/11 was one of the worst days of our lives. We love our American People but we do not need to assert it that way because we feel we alienate the rest of the world. Traditions are like history to me. They have to be remembered and people choose to remember history in their own ways. Some express their opinions loudly, some join parades, some make movies about it, some light a candle quietly in the privacy of their home. The way we choose to honor our traditions is up to us and we shall not feel pressured by anyone, not our parents, not capitalism (hello Valentine’s day around the corner) or our government. So I am officially over the guilt.

The other very important thing to remember is to forever create new traditions. It is actually the most fun. I have countless ideas every year which turn into beautiful new memories and traditions and it makes me happy to know that I am continuing to write our history.

 

Now for all those of you who wonder what I ended up doing: well, I did it. I went out and bought a Galette des Rois. When I came home I wrote this post…out of frustration. Now I think I will actually enjoy it more but I will no longer do anything just because I have to follow some tradition.

 

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