The Importance of Celebrations

"Without meaningful ritual, people suffer. Ritual and ceremony can bridge our past and our present elegantly, making it possible for folks like you and me to travel through life, honoring the good and bad times we’ve been through. They can help us become human “well-beings,”ready to take on more life and liberty and ready to pursue our happiness." - Carl Jung

Celebration is part of the human experience. When we put energy into making something special it becomes memorable and strengthens the ties of our clan.

Celebrations hold a magic for us all. Participating in holiday celebrations enriches our lives as it makes us feel special and elevates the day from ordinary to something to be remembered. Whether it is a birthday party, wedding, a national observance, or harvest festival, our celebrations are woven tightly into our identity. Joining a celebration helps us feel connected to our place in society. It is at this time that relationships are renewed, the bonds of friendship and family ties strengthened. Through ritual we connect to generations, past and future. It is through ritual that memories are made and our lives gain meaning.

Research is showing that families that celebrate together have stronger bonds as family celebrations contribute to how we see each other and ourselves. Partaking in holiday celebrations helps us feel connected to our place in society and gives one a stronger sense of self. A major portions of an individual's memories are based around their holiday experiences. Who isn't transported back to dinners with loved ones by the smell of pumpkin pie or baking bread? Barbara Fiese. PhD. writes in the Journal of Family Psychology that families that celebrate holidays together are more likely to raise kids who have a strong sense of identity, are healthy, have close ties to family members and succeed in school.

Dr. Steven J. Wolin, a clinical professor of psychiatry at George Washington University Medical School, cites that the power of ritual comes from heritage, tradition, and most of all something being emblazoned in your brain over time. And that family rituals protect the individual against a sense of loneliness and uncertainty in daily living as it transmits shared beliefs of the family group across generations.

Dr. William Doherty, director of the marriage and family therapy program at the University of Minnesota, has identified two kinds of rituals in our society. The first is the traditional secular and religious rituals surrounding holidays, weddings, or funerals, the second involve rituals a family or individual has created to celebrate their life. It is through participating in these rituals we enact values that build our identity as we connect to generations, past and future and it is through celebration we give meaning to our lives.

It is the attention to detail that elevates a mundane event, like dinner, into a celebration. Take the time to set the table. By making the effort to make someone feel special it elevates the event into a memorable experience. Spend some quality time with friends and family. Renew your connection to your tribe. Gather with friends and let your heart swell with joy. Participate in the celebration and make some new memories.

Only you can make your life richer and fill it with meaning. It's the little things that add joy to your life. Celebration is part of the human experience. Acknowledging the seasons through celebration is a simple way to harmonize with the world and to recognize that we are a part of it. It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and let days, weeks and even months slip by. So make time for seasonal celebrations, set aside a morning to try out that new recipe. Take a moment to meditate on your blessings. Take in the beauty around you. Rejoice. Let your heart be glad as you gather your family to you and celebrate knowing life is good.