Thursday, November 15, 2007

Answer to BlogHer's Question of the Week" Quirky Holiday Traditions

I've added a tradition to all my mother's British ones (more about that in a future post) that has become an annual tradition for my family.

Each year I ask people to send me their troubles. Most arrive by email, and I send my invitation to many listserves and discussion lists I'm on. This year my blog readers will be invited to send theirs too.

We have a bonfire on New Year's Eve and the troubles are printed on sheets of paper and thrown into the fire. This has become so popular that I often get emails from as far away as Australia and Taiwan. People don't have to tell me their troubles unless they want to; all they need to say is "Burn This!" and I'll print and burn it. Each piece of paper goes into the fire with prayers and loving thoughts for the sender.

We've been doing this for about 8 years, and it's a tradition that has come to have a lot of meaning for me. There are some people who only get in touch each year to send their troubles, and that's fine with me. I just like knowing they're out there. Others send updates, telling me how things have gone for them in the past year, and I love hearing about it. Some have told me they've started the tradition in their own homes, and that's the best of all.


Anonymous said...

I love seeing the photos of your tradition. Please burn WAR for me (not the card game, the other, destructive, one).

gvp said...

What a wonderful idea. I came upon your blog through the randomizer. I might just email you mine. The job of writing it down is half the battle I think!
Reading your blog feels rather like sitting by an open fire - warm and comforting.

Denise said...

This. Is. Cool.

Thanks for including your link on the BlogHer Question of the Week. I would never have seen this and plan to talk about it with my kids this weekend.

Can we send you ours?

Granny Sue said...

Sure! I'd love it, Denise. Thank you for visiting.

And burn war? that would be the best thing of all. That one will definitely go in the fire, gvp.

Karen Pierce Gonzalez said...

Your offer is very generous. This tradition, enjoyed by so many different cultures, is the perfect way to transform messages...
I'm reminded of the money (play money) the Chinese burn during the New Year in order to keep their ancestors properous and the Tibetan wind horse that delivers prayer flag messages to the four corners of the earth.
I will be sure to send you a prayer.
Best, Karen

Granny Sue said...

I think this tradition has Celtic roots in my family, but as with so many folkways, it's shared in other cultures too. I remember reading somewhere that a culture burned all their clothing or possessions (can't remember which) at the Winter Solstice so that they could start the New Year clear of old encumbrances. Seems like a good idea in some ways, and our trouble-burning is sort of like that--burn it so that you don't carry it with you into the new year.

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