Posts Tagged ‘tradition’


“Preserving tradition has become a nice hobby, like stamp collecting.”~ Mason Cooley

Does anyone remember the episode of the Bill Cosby show in the mid-1980’s where Bill’s partner calls in sick and cannot play their usual Saturday night game of pinochle against Bill’s father and his father’s friend? Meanwhile, Bill is being visited by his former professor and so they team up together to beat Bill’s father and friend and LITERALLY go through the tradition of the rubbing of heads.

Then finally the father’s friend cries out that it was a stupid tradition? Yeah well, read for yourself on this blog post whether or not you believe this to be an awesome college tradition or a not so cool one. Those of you who cannot stand sports will probably not care for this post and perhaps want to skip it.

Taylor University, a school in the NAIA, has a tradition called “Silent Night” in which the crowd during that particular basketball game at home remains absolutely quiet and still, until the team scores its tenth point.

This year it just so happens to have been recorded on video and plastered all over the Internet. In just under three minutes into the game, it took Taylor University to reach that point. It was 11-0 when the silence was broken and the crowded arena erupted into chaos and cheer.

I am also given to understand that fans arrive at the game wearing (or not wearing) highly unusual costumes which makes them look like a collection of patients who just escaped the state mental hospital.

From the video that I watched, it literally was as quiet as it could get. Even with a sold out crowd. The only thing that you can hear was the high top shoes squeaking across the wooden floor of the gymnasium, and the occasional dribble of the basketball. And up until that point where a 3 point shot was made to make the score 11-0 it was so quiet to the point of being deafening.

But then again once that point had been reached, I am sure that inside it got deafening for a completely different reason.

The crowds acted like they lost their damn minds. Such insanity and chaos erupted quickly that the game actually had to be brought to a halt because fans were out of control.

This is the NAIA, folks. This is NOT your ordinary college basketball team that you may think of, such as Duke, Syracuse, Kentucky, or Kansas. I can almost bet you all the stars in the sky though that if this tradition was being held within the NCAA, there would be a lot issues and problems. And personally speaking, if I was the head official for the game I would be issuing out a technical foul or two.

And its not because I think that the actual tradition is dumb. I think it is unusual at best. You may or may not be able to verbalize the word “neat” if you caught me in a good mood. It is the fact that the crowd gets so rowdy that it literally stops the game. In any other sport or association of sports, there would be some penalizing going on.

Celebrations are great. I’m all for celebrations. But in my own opinion, the delay of the game …. isn’t cool.

My partially-negative outlook comes with a price though.

As I am watching over my niece this afternoon, she is sick and I finally got her to fall asleep for the first time today. And then I was rather idiotic to have watched that video of the crowds erupting after many seconds of silence while she was snoring away. It woke her up. And it took nearly forever to get her to fall back to sleep. And she’s reciting dialogue from “Dora the Explorer” in her sleep.

So yeah, dumb uncle move right there.

And for those of you who are wondering, Taylor University ended up winning the game.

What are the most unusual traditions that you have ever encountered? What are the ones that you most enjoy?


“We’re kicking off our fun old fashion family Christmas by heading out into the country in the old front-wheel drive sleigh to embrace the frosty majesty of the winter landscape and select that most important of Christmas symbols.”~ Chevy Chase as ‘Clark’ in “Christmas Vacation” [1989]

It’s Christmas Eve. At least for most. Christmas Day is several hours away and we gather with family and friends to celebrate in love and harmony, not to mention in pride and avarice (for others).

Each family who celebrates Christmas throughout the world has their own holiday traditions. I know that growing up, my family sure did. But after having those traditions for many, many years- it is sometimes difficult to realize that others do not do the same thing as I have done for most of my life.

Growing up, my family did our Christmas celebrating and the opening of gifts and presents on the evening of Christmas Eve. For many years I just thought that was how it was done. Until I was much older and realized that the only reason why my parents decided to open presents on Christmas Eve, was because of the fact that my sister’s birthday is the 26th of December.

So many Decembers gone by, and I could never figure out why other neighborhood children had only had their toys and gifts for an hour or so when me and my siblings had ours freshly unwrapped overnight. I would learn after the age of ten or so why that was.

Most of my life though, and even into adulthood, I would open up Christmas presents on the 24th of December………. except for one year.

On the 24th of December in the year of 1982, our family stayed at home instead of attending Christmas Eve services. My father would go on without us and then return home. Meanwhile, a thunderstorm came through and by the time we had heard the garage door opening, signifying that my father was home and “Christmas” would begin, my younger sibling ran out the front door to greet him in the pouring rain. At that moment when the front door was opening, the tornado sirens began to wail.

Christmas was not going to happen for several hours later as the F4 tornado ripped through in the middle of the night. Two days later (on my sister’s birthday that year) we had twelve inches of snow. Go figure.

That year, so memorable. Opening gifts and drinking tiny glasses of egg nog well after midnight and practically falling asleep on the floor amongst the disaster area of torn and shredded Christmas wrapping paper and emptied out toy boxes and packages.

Christmas traditions vary worldwide as well. Not just from American family to family. Some have already opened gifts and presents. When I was studying German in school, we learned about something called “Saint Nikolas Tag” (St. Nicholas Day). That was the time when many children would open gifts and presents. Of course in Germany, they do celebrate Christmas on the traditional days of 24th and 25th, and even on the 26th. But what we learned, Saint Nikolas Tag was the day that the German version of Santa Claus would visit and bring gifts for the children.

Now as an adult, now that I am an uncle; things have changed a little bit. My niece and nephews will most likely be opening gifts tomorrow morning as many children will in this country.

But I really don’t believe that it matters all that much on WHAT DAY we open our gifts and presents for the Christmas holiday. It’s more towards what the real meaning of Christmas is about. And being with family and loved ones.

And that’s just me.

For those of you reading this blog post, and celebrate Christmas– MERRY CHRISTMAS. May your holidays be full of love & joy.


Trick or treat, baby?

“I don’t know how long I’ll be trick or treating. Maybe I’ll be 80 years old and still trick or treating.”~ Kieran Culkin

I went to research the different customs across the world of Halloween. I thought like many other holidays, that certain countries celebrated Halloween on different days and such.

 But my research was thwarted and I began to dig deeper on this custom of “trick or treating”.

The custom of going door to door dressed in a costume, or “guising” has been done in the USA probably long before the 1950’s.

I honestly didn’t believe in the fact that trick or treating was solely an American tradition or custom. And I was right.

Trick or treating resembles the late medieval practice of souling, when poor folk would go door to door on ‘Hallowmas’ (1st of November) which is All Saints Day, receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (2nd of November). It originated in Ireland and Britain, although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy.

A Soul cake is a small round cake which is traditionally made for All Saints Day or All Souls Day to celebrate the dead. The cakes, often simply referred to as souls, were given out to soulers (mainly consisting of children and the poor) who would go from door to door on Hallowmas singing and saying prayers for the dead. Each cake eaten would represent a soul being freed from the depths of Purgatory. The practice of giving and eating soul cakes is often seen as the origin of modern trick or treating as we know it today.

So in general, the practice has been going on for centuries.

The custom of wearing costumes and masks at Halloween goes back to Celtic traditions of attempting to copy the dark and evil spirits or placate them, in Scotland for instance where the dead were impersonated by young men with masked, veiled or blackened faces, dressed in white.

Modern traditions of trick or treating vary in its custom. In some places, children are required to perform or entertain with a joke or to sing a song before the treat is actually given to them.

So it isn’t uncommon for other places to actually have the children WORK for their treats.

After the age of ten, there was one house that I definitely had to work to get to the front door. The family always intended on scaring children to the end of their wits. But if they made it to the door, they were rewarded with their own can of their favorite carbonated beverages. (The husband worked for the Coca-Cola company at the time.)

I went when I was fourteen. I was rather successful. Then I tried again at sixteen and was turned away with the common response of “Aren’t you too old to be doing this?”.

I found it ironic to be asked that question when I was met at each door by an adult who was already dressed in THEIR OWN costume!! I thought “how ridiculous!”.

After that, I focused more on scaring the crap out of children that came to MY house looking for treats instead of begging for it. I just was never any good at it.

I would continue to dress up for Halloween throughout my teenaged years. But the older I got, the more I became lazy. Probably the last time anyone dared to ask me, “What are you dressed up as?”, my automatic reply was “A schizophrenic.” Some got it, others found it tasteless.

Definitely in the 21st Century, there are no children performing. The standard greeting of “Trick or treat?” is just followed by the dispersing of treats and then depending on whether the child is polite or not, a verbal “thank you” was given and then it was off to the next house to repeat the process until that home was emptied of its bounty. Or it got too late in the night and it was in fact a school night.

So yet again, the roots of tradition are quite fascinating. No child in America today is praying or singing for the dead for cakes, that is for sure.