Thursday, November 8, 2007

Creating Ritual

B. and I have decided to celebrate Chanukkah this year, so I spent the morning yesterday shopping online for menorahs. My favorite were the sketchy ones on eBay that didn't actually have the required 8 candleholders. There were also traditional, modern, and artsy ones to choose from, and even a Waterford crystal one if you want to drop $300. Let's just say I was a little overwhelmed by all the choices.

The idea of creating rituals with significant others and loved ones has come up quite frequently lately. I think it's a part of growing up and putting down roots to want to create meaningful traditions with the ones you love.

A dear friend wrote a piece about this subject for one of her American Studies classes. I wish there was a link for you to read it because it was beautifully written (Publish it, J.!!!). She wrote of deciding in what ways to observe her cultural traditions in the family she's creating with her fiance and how our generation differs from the previous one in that many of us buy the cultural symbols (usually the grandest and most expensive) that the previous generation had passed down to them from their families. As I recall it, the piece essentially questioned whether rituals mean more when they are passed down from generation to generation or when we co-op them in ways that are meaningful to us personally. I think this is especially true when people come from different backgrounds. I am interested in knowing the basis of the original traditions, but I love the idea of blending the elements that mean the most to both of us to create our own unique celebrations.

Another friend recently told me how much she wants to build traditions with her group of friends. She said that since she isn't that close to her family of origin, she considers her friends and their significant others to be the family that she has chosen for herself. She wants to build holiday traditions and annual vacations with us. We are planning to begin this year with a week-early Thanksgiving dinner together. I love the idea that one day our families will spend the week sharing condos on the beach or going skiing together in the winter. "Family" takes on a lot of different forms, and I'm excited to share that label with her.

As it turns out, B.'s family has a spare menorah for us to use. Neither of us will be home at sundown on the 4th to light the first candle, but I think we'll find our own way to commemorate those 8 days. I'm just excited we get to spend another holiday together.


  1. I'm doing it for all the presents.

  2. bekah "the thanksgiving"November 8, 2007 at 7:06 PM

    glad to hear i'm not your family anymore. your friend who's stealing you for thanksgiving can shove it.