Over my short lifetime I have been told that I’m anti-tradition. Sometimes this label has bounced off me, but sometimes it’s just confusing.
So when it comes to tradition I tend to take the position that if the tradition has lost it original meaning, no longer teaches/reminds people of anything particularly, and is not practically (or mentally/emotionally/etc) useful, then it should not be forced on anyone. If something can take it’s place that does hold some symbolic (or otherwise) then I don’t see why not.
On the other hand I love some traditions for their ancient meaning, their ability to tie people together, and continue something which started hundreds of years ago.
This is why being told that I’m anti-traditionalist just tells me that some people don’t know me as well as they think they do. For example, when Bear & I got married we picked one of the oldest locations of a church we knew of. It was also a place that had great significance to us personally. On the other hand, tossing the bouquet/garter was something we just didn’t need – especially as it was basically meant to stop the guests from tearing our clothes of us and convince them we were consummating the marriage.
There were parts that we added, that although strictly not traditional, allowed Bear and I to create parts which we hope will pass onto our children and grandchildren. One of which was combining our tartans within my dress. I started in one clan and finished the ceremony in a new family. This I am turning into a shawl/blanket to hold our children when they are born – symbolising them being made of two families.
For those wanting a few more examples: I wore white (even though this is only traditional since Queen Victoria), we exchanged rings, I was given away, Bear wore a Welsh tartan cilt (kilt), I had bridesmaids, we were even given Honeymead (meant to give the couple strength for the month after the wedding for you-know-what).
In contrast, we didn’t have a receiving line, no cake cutting posing photographs, we served our guests after the ceremony, our vows were a Bible passage rather than set vows, I didn’t wear a veil or tiara, and our wedding was outside rather than in a four-walled-and-roofed church.
In the same way I love finding out about our shared history and have been compiling our family tree, so that it might inform our children, for months. I love talking to the older members of my family because they tell me stories about my past that I couldn’t possibly know any other way.
I would one day love to create a crest or symbol for our combined family, not in pretentious poshness, but in order to give an image to our identity as family. Using such traditional methods may seem strange in this day and age, but it means something to me and Bear.
I am not anti-traditionalist. I am anti-useless-tradition being used in my life. I claim my right to do this, to decide how to live it and to decide what traditions to be part of that. Some traditions work beautifully for other people. Some are exceedingly precious to me. I think that’s ok.