Last winter, my mother visited my grandpa in Nanjing. The day before she left (or maybe the day of, I'm not so sure), we had dumplings (jiaozi) to mark her departure. She made them in abundance, and we froze what we could not eat for later. When she returned, we had noodles: chow mein, or perhaps Pad Thai.
The habit of having dumplings on departure and noodles on return is something I had never noticed, a banal, Chinese tradition that makes up a small piece of the fabric of my household. But the truth is: traditions in any family don't always come as loud or as shiny as costumed dragon dances on the New Year. They're not always tied back to a specific culture, or a reason for being.
This month, we want writing and art about the traditions and quirks, big and small, that you practice within your family. Send this to us by July 15th.
A tradition can be a yearly trip to the lake, a special gifting game at Christmas, a funny word or an inside joke that's become part of your family whether through outside influence or spontaneous creation. It can be eating moon-cakes for the Mid-Autumn Festival every year. Don't restrict yourself to conventional definitions of cultural tradition. Instead, harvest the oddities and rites of passage that you find are core to your own home, your own place of being. If you find yourself stuck, come back soon: we'll put up short guides on how to approach this as a writer or artist in the coming weeks.
Keep it one hundred,
Victor, Kailani, Alice, and Cindy