Traditions in Life and Literature, a guest post by author Jessica Vitalis

I was not raised in a family that held much stock in traditions. Sure, there was cake at birthdays, a Christmas tree at Christmas, and an egg hunt at Easter, but those traditions were viewed more as strange than as anything set in stone––we were a transient family, and there was often little room in our schedule (much less our budget) for more than making it through each day.

But they are an important part of life––they give it meaning and rhythm and help create a sense of belonging. This is true of popular traditions as well as smaller, more private traditions. I must have sensed this even as a child, because I envied the family next door that always embarked on a family walk after dinner. I also envied a friend who was gifted the unimaginable luxury of selecting her dinner on the evening of her birthday. And I pretended to sympathize with another friend who grumpled about getting up every Sunday morning to attend church with her family, all the while jealous of what I saw as a comforting ritual.