Traditions (HLD 375)

2 April 2021

Not far from me is a brand new fish and chip shop. It’s been open for maybe a month now, and has been very popular with the locals.

With the creditable – probably saintly, although that’s not for me to say – aim of supporting our local businesses, we have forced ourselves to eat fish and chips on a couple of occasions since they opened. This is the same reason we have coffee and breakfast at the cafe over the road – it’s just because we are such nice people. And has nothing to do with laziness.

Anyway – when we did our community thing and bought fish and chips, there was a bit of a delay between the time they had told us on the phone that our order would be ready, and when the food WAS actually ready.

Being some wonderful community minded people, we put this down to early teething pains, and being busier than normal while all the other community minded people checked them out.

But….. today is Good Friday, and I noticed the queue of people trying to actually get into the door to order their fish and chips at about 4.30pm.

Fish and chips. On Good Friday.

Apparently it’s a thing. Apparently it’s the Christians who are forcing us to do this, something to do with not eating red meat on Fridays, specifically on Good Friday. I’ve never weighed into what days I eat red meat, fish, or no meat (although Meatfree Monday is something I try to remember to do, but not, um, religiously!). But my mum knows that Friday in her nursing home means fish and chips for lunch, something she looks forward to.

I didn’t see all the people queueing up at the fish and chip shop wearing crosses around their neck, or working their rosary beads while waiting for their order. It’s fairly safe to say that maybe they aren’t adhering to their firmly held religious beliefs by eating fish and chips on a good Friday.

Maybe it’s just a tradition.

In a similar way that those pesky Christians force us to eat hot cross buns, and celebrate the birth of Jesus by eating huge meals and giving gifts to loved ones, the traditions that start from one group of people become just something that everyone becomes familiar with, and they become their family traditions for generations.

For years, my husbands family celebrated the day after Christmas (Boxing Day), with all going to the cinemas to see a movie. It was a lovely tradition that has, unfortunately, over the years dissipated.

Years back there was a TV show called Gladiator, which was a family favourite – don’t ask me why. When one of my sisters-in-law visited us on a Gladiator night, it became a favourite tradition known as “Pizza and Gladiator”.

Also in my husbands family, we have a tradition that the singing of “Happy Birthday” is done in the most off-key and badly timed manner as possible. They insist this is them being funny, and is not a reflection in any way of their inability to hold a tune. I’m not convinced, but it is fun to yell out the words of the song, making the birthday person really suffer for their cake.

My mum has always, on the first day of the month, leapt to be the first to say “Rabbit” to someone. Apparently the tradition is saying “White Rabbit” but obviously in my Mum’s childhood, that was too many words to get out. She and her sisters still delight in getting that first word on the first of each month.

Keep me amused while I sit out the front and watch the meandering queue of people waiting for their fish and chips, and tell me what traditions your family had that you have kept going?

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