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The definitive host: Traditional (and not so traditional) traditions

The definitive host

de·fin·i·tive host (duh-fin'eh-tiv) n. 1) An organism where a parasite undergoes the adult and sexual stages of its reproductive cycle 2) Someone you go to for interesting stories and/or facts, and puts on one hell of a dinner party 3) This blog, devoted to science and other geeky subjects

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Traditional (and not so traditional) traditions

Source
As the sun sets on Yom Kippur, millions of Jews will prepare to break the fast on one of the holiest days in the entire Jewish calendar year.

Yom Kippur is known as the "day of repentance," where Jews fast from sundown to sundown in order to repent for their sins of the past year. It is a day of reflection, personal growth and the letting go of the petty gripes that most people hang on to.

As a kid, I understood what the point of it all was, but I truly didn't understand why such a thing was important until later. It was just a day where I didn't eat, and I hated it. But I still did it. But why?

Because, it was tradition.


Like all families, mine had its own little traditions - which restaurants we would go to for a birthday, what celebrations we went to to see the extended family, etc.

But as time goes on, some traditions fade away, while new ones evolve in their place and take over.

For example, as a kid, during Passover (the holiday when Jews don't eat bread), my brother and I would watch "The Ten Commandments" over and over and over again - and it was a long movie, at 220 minutes (or around 3 hours and 40 minutes)!

My mom would come in, rewind the video, press play and get a few more hours of peace from her twin boys, which was probably sorely needed.

But the best tradition, and one that I still follow to this day, is one that my brother and I made up way back in 1999/2000.

As I have mentioned in previous posts (such as this one), one of my favourite books is Animal Farm by George Orwell. I read it at least once a year, and have for decades. And while the book is a favourite of mine, the animated movie version was never that good. I think we watched it once, but never finished it.

Then, one year, I saw an ad on ABC that a new version was coming with animal puppets created by Jim Henson's company, with such notable actors like Kelsey Grammar, Ian Holm and Sir Patrick Stewart voicing them. We waited and waited, but didn't hear about it until its premiere date in early October 1999.

And it was fantastic! It held very close to the book and the voice and puppet effects were superb.

The trailer for the movie can be found at: http://youtu.be/LAeKX5n-5IE (For some reason, it was not working to put it into the blog - sorry!)

The following year, on Yom Kippur, my brother and I could not decide how to waste our time until we could eat again. When looking through our VHS movies, I stumbled upon our copy of Animal Farm, so we watched it.

The following year, the same problem - this time, my brother found it and jokingly said that we should watch it. I agreed, and so we did. Again and again and again, year after year after year.

So, for the past 13 years, whether we were in the same city or not (or even fasting or not), Daniel and I continue to watch Animal Farm - it has become our tradition!

Whether a tradition is thousands of years old, or just a few years, they help us feel connected to everyone else who does them, establishing a sense of community and togetherness, no matter where you are.

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