Growing up in different cultures than the ones we are raising our children in can bring on feelings of nostalgia during certain times of the year.
Being from America, many of my childhood traditions are easily maintained. Christmas for example, visiting Santa at the mall and decorating a tree are things that I did as a kid and that my kids do every year too. In some ways, living in France has even upped the game a bit as there are often live animals in the nativity scenes! Often our special holidays & celebrations are not celebrated in France, like Thanksgiving (USA), Tano (Korea) or Jamhuri Dy (Kenya). Or, they are carried out in completely different ways - Traditionally, for Easter, the chocolate is brought not by the Easter Bunny but by flying bells.
Message members volunteer to create many of our own traditions that we would experience in our own countries and we share these with other members. Day of the Dead, Chinese New Year and Diwali are celebrated by Message. Members can check the Message Members' Calendar to sign up for these events.
Halloween, also known as All Hallows' Eve or All Saints' Eve was orignially called Samhain, where people wore costumes and lit fires to ward off ghosts. "Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating treats." History.com The way Message celebrates Halloween is with small get-togethers, craft events and the BIG MESSAGE SPOOKTACULAR TRICK OR TREAT! Since 2012, our members have gathered, carrying bags of candy and kids (babies to teens) adorned in a variety of costumes to trick or treat. It is a massive undertaking of volunteers and is one of our favorite excuses to get-together in Paris. The Message Trick or Treat event is super fun and they give a lot of candy. We meet new people and get to say "Trick or Treat" and not something else. -Leonora, age 10 I like the event because it's the event that I look forward to the whole year - and it's at a great park. At the end we take our candy and go sit on the chairs next to the lake and eat some candy. We also take a very cool photo with all of our costumes. It's fun to see the adults in costumes too. -Sabine, age 12
My kids have been participating in this event for many years and it has become a family tradition for us. We always remember to set the clocks back the night before the Message Trick or Treat event because this is what happens every year. Some years, we have put a ton of thought into our costumes and other years we just painted our faces - but we always know where we are headed on Oct 30th. That is what family traditions are, we all know that we will be together doing something that we only do on that one date - together and in community.
Have you been to a Message holiday event yet? You still have time to RSVP to our Spooktacular Trick or Treat in Paris!
"The practice of handing down traditions provides grounding for a child and supports the building of trust, family values, and identity, and opens the doors of opportunity for understanding the past, making sense of the present, and building on the future," says Dr. Mendez.
How do you maintain traditions from your home country with your family while living in France?