On traditions to carry forward..

“Woohoo!” the little girl said as her grandfather dusted the heavy cardboard box and brought it down from the attic. It happened every year and every time she saw it, it was exciting. Every doll from the boxes will be examined for damage and made ready for display. Make shift steps would be set up for the dolls, brown paper mountains for the little paper men and women. There used to be something new every year- paper mache craft, punch book themes, crochet dolls- Harry Potter, Rocket launches, Native Americans , Cinderella, SpongeBob ..in addition to the traditional Chettiar bommai, Dasavatharam, Astalakshmi. She would be his apprentice and would learn a new craft every year. 

It might be because I am married now, I have often started thinking about ‘My Home’ . What and how do I want to do something in my house. Do I want chairs and tables or a couch. How do I want to set up our kitchen. Do we want gas or electric stove.. etc etc. Which coffee-maker do I want ? And in those lines my recent one was – what traditions do we want to carry forward as a family.

I think I made it clear about my feelings towards rituals in my life in this post.  Having said that, I have also started realizing things I relate closely to. That is part of my growing up, culture, tradition etc. I have also started asking R his happy memories and things we would want to relive.

The whole of last week was filled with me looking at pictures of Golu – Navarathri (nine day Indian festival worshiping the Hindu deity Durga) .  It is celebrated in different ways in different parts of India. As a south-Indian we call it Golu celebrate it by doll/figurine display in our houses. People are invited to the house on all days  to see the display. The most important (to me) tradition is making a different kind of lentil (sundal) every evening for the guests and also give them a parting gift. Any guest who comes home is asked to sing a song {and listened to without judgement}. It was one of the most joyous festivals in our house.

I really enjoyed seeing all these pictures and realized Golu- Navarathri is one of the festivals I have very positive and happy memories of. It is celebrated in grandeur by my grandparents. Their Golu display was not just restricted to the traditional dolls on steps but was unique every year with themes ranging from Harry Potter, Cinderella, Native American dolls, Light houses, Rocket launches to scary Halloween spiders . They would immerse themselves in showing off their creative skills – painting, crafts, DIYS. My grandma being the amazing cook would make a sundal (lentil), sweet and various drinks. They would also buy different gifts to give people from different age groups.

I love every aspect of it – Making good food, inviting people, unleashing your creative side, singing and giving back gifts. A tradition I would want to carry forward in MY family 🙂 I do not know when I would be able to do it and if it would be half as good as what my grandparents did but it did make me feel good to pen it down and to know what I relate to from our traditions 🙂 I know some reading this might wonder if I will do justice to religious part of the traditions. Unfortunately I might not, but that shouldn’t stop us from carrying forward things that we relate to right?

P.S. The pictures above are from our Golu this year. Most of it is handmade!! I wish I was home just to see this live 🙂 And according to my grandparents this is a scaled down version..they had a display atleast thrice as big twenty years ago.

Harry Potter fans..did you see a Whomping Willow? 🙂

What is a tradition you started or want to start in your family? Would love your thoughts on this topic.


3 thoughts on “On traditions to carry forward..

  1. […] agnostic and my thoughts on how I would want to connect the culture and traditions in my life (On traditions to carry forward..), in a way that makes sense in the present day. When we moved in together, one of the things I […]


  2. Yep, saw the whomping willow.


  3. I declare your grandparents the coolest ever!! We do keep Golu minus the religious puja part. It is your home, your tradition.


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