For years I have “preached” against the observance of traditions. (I mean, look what they did for Tevye)
Not always because they are bad, but because they can be made to BECOME bad.
Some have accused me of being overly zealous in my efforts to control the development of new traditions.
After all, what is wrong with having little family or ward traditions? Especially this time of year when we have so much to celebrate?
The idea of traditions, in and of themselves, is not something I find to be wrong or unworthy of our observance. It’s when the tradition loses its meaning and becomes simply a reason to repeat some act or experience in our lives.
If we don’t know why we do something, why do we continue the practice?
I remember a story told of a newlywed couple who were preparing their first Sunday dinner. The wife took the roast and, before putting it in the roasting pan, cut off both ends of the meat. Perplexed, the husband asked her why she did that. The reply was “that’s the way my mother always did it.”
On the next visit to the mother’s house the husband asked why this practice was part of the preparation for a pot roast. The mother replied, “that’s the way MY mother did it.”
At a later time, when the grandmother was in attendance, the young husband inquired about the purpose of cutting of the ends of the meat before cooking. The grandmother answered, “when we were first married, the pan I used for a roast was too small to hold the whole thing so I had to cut off the ends so it would fit.”
All those years of wasted meat because no ever asked WHY do we do this thing.
Let us look carefully at why we do some of the things we do and if we have no good reason except TRADITION let’s get rid of the practice.
There is a good read in the D-News about dating the Savior’s birth and popular Mormon traditions. Take a look at this article for a different perspective.