Traditions to be kept

Traditions are meant to be kept. Some of them at least.

Throughout history certain rites, beliefs and customs were repeated over and over again by human kind, modified by new notions that developed and accumulated along the way as time passed, and most certainly by newcomers, then finally and definitely upgraded by new generations that unavoidably followed. This time of year, when it nears its ends, it is apparently the time when I appear to be ponder-ish and kind of blue. Not sad kind of blue but winter blue. Two little reminders from last year’s winter blues of mine: Let’s Go Crazy and The First Run of the Year or The Curious Case of Storytelling.

In the olden days people used to be prepared for the dead of winter by this time of the year (imagine wood collected and stowed, granaries full, animals secured in stables) while nowadays it seems to be a season of frolic and glut. I do like to keep it optimistic although the state of the world does not really provide for merely happy thoughts. I’m quite taken aback by the general common sense, you see, especially the lack of it and particularly in politics.

Traditional New Year’s Eve do it yourself 🙂 dinner

Still, I choose optimism. Yet again one year is coming to an end, the new one awaiting at the threshold. Who knows what it tags along? Who wants to know actually? Che sara, sara.

Happy thoughts then. Not considering myself too traditional, really, but I do like, say, Christmas, especially embellishments and decorations, the obligatory Christmas tree, lots of candles in the home, warm and spicy scents, drinking champagne and enjoying in festive meals. To me, for example, amaryllis is the epitome of December, so I try to secure a vase of it come festive season. Some, like the Americans, deck their houses, the others, like Italians, distinctly Neapolitans, keep the tradition of the presepio (crib) for the home and have modernized it with a sense of humour unbeknownst outside Italy.

Nativity Scene figurines 2017 from Naples via

Cribs of artists in Via San Gregorio Armeno in Naples, Italy

More than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus? via

Some traditions are day specific. Some people wash their cars on Sundays. Some cook Sunday lunch for the entire family and drop dead tired in front of TV after it.

Several traditions have to do with superstition. I, for example, always need to wear a piece of red clothing on the New Year’s eve. Then there’s Austrians with their pink pigs and chimney sweeps pocket-size figurines.

Lucky charms for New Year’s Eve (Austrian style)

Weird Austrian new year traditions via

I know of the company where employees ask a new boss permission to keep the tradition of sitting down together in the company’s largest conference room on the last working day in December for a collective lunch they themselves organize.

Oh lovely birch tree, will you stick to your tradition and give me a hard time come spring? (Re: allergy)

It’s December 31st and it’s a Sunday. Traditionally, the two of us move to the mountains for a few days at the end of the year to escape the excess of the city. A few years ago we established a new tradition for ourselves: on the day we make a day trip to a little Italian town of Tarvisio (I’ve written about it before), jammed into narrowest valley in the Julian Alps. It’s nothing to write home about, really, a border town as any other that would be semi-deserted if it wasn’t for a winter sport clientele, typically veeeery cold in winter. There we have a proper Italian cappuccino at one of numerous bars, then a short stroll, followed by a very good lunch in one of its recommended restaurants. In a typical Italian alimentari e enoteca we stock on some wine, carciofi sott’olio and mortadella. We also stop at a merino and cashmere store (did I mention how cold it usually gets?). We commit to visiting the lovely Monte Lussari next time.

In the evening, back at our base, we chill a bottle of champagne and prepare a festive dinner for ourselves. Bring it on, 2018! Happy New Year everybody.