Today's Big Stories

Why family traditions matter

Traditions can often form the foundations of families and communities.

Family traditions have the ability to strengthen bonds and relationships among relatives, says clinical psychologist Khosi Jiyani.

She describes family traditions as the practices that family do to honour a legacy, history, memory and experience.

She explains that traditions can be celebratory or commemorative, big and small.

Family traditions could be anything from giving to charity, playing card games, to celebrating anniversaries, Easter weekend or special meal times and dress codes.

According to Jiyani, these rituals are important because they give people a sense of belonging and create uniqueness within a family.

While families may observe similar traditions, it is how they interpret the rituals that differs.

A lot of them are tied to some religion, in that they are more communal than they are family-orientated. But families will have their own ways in which they honour them.

Khosi Jiyani, Clinical psychologist

Jiyani advises that there can be specific 'codes of behaviour' with certain rituals that can be a source of excitement and anxiety for some family members.

Some traditions may be rooted in ancestral and religious ceremony - which may also be cause for divisions and tensions.

But Jiyani notes that beyond the activity itself, it is the symbolic significance of the occasion or action that counts.

She maintains that traditions allow for both change and continuity, particularly for non-nuclear and blended families.

Listeners shared their experiences of family traditions and nostalgia:

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