Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T Is For Traditions...

Traditions are fun in anything, especially in fantasy. Think about traditions you've started yourself. Think about other traditions from other parts of the world.

They don't have to be connected to a holiday or anything special, they can be simple, mundane things. For example, when we moved to Alaska, the first time we invited anyone over, they asked if they should take of their shoes. I raised an eyebrow and said, "We're not in China or Japan". I had never heard of anyone doing this. But the reasoning is simple in this example, it's wet and muddy outside and people don't want stuff tracked all over their nice homes.

Look at the tradition of bowing in the Asian countries. How over in the middle east, the left hand is used for hygiene and considered unclean so you must eat with your right hand. Marriage proposals and engagements vary. Funerals are all dealt with differently. Even the birth of children are widely diverse. Living in Alaska, there are a lot of orthodox Russians and I see a young couple holding hands constantly and it is part of a tradition, I think, the day before their wedding. It's kind of fun to look up a lot of these traditions and figure out where they started and what they will be.

Traditions in fantasy world building are just as important as they are in our world. They pull people in. Family, friends and in certain situations, total strangers. It creates a bond where you feel connected to other people even if it is only for a fraction of a second.


M.J. Fifield said...

Now I have the soundtrack from "Fiddler on the Roof" in my head.

But traditions are very important. Regardless of what world we're visiting.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I guess since I lived in Japan for a while I've always taken off my shoes.

Hart Johnson said...

They really CAN come from anywhere. When my son was 2, he didn't want to eat anything but SOUP. So one Sunday morning I made pancakes and stewed some apples to put over them... since that time (12 years now) my kids specifically request 'apple soup' for special occasion breakfasts.

They DO add an authenticity in fiction.

Jai said...

Traditions are important and can be the cause of conflict in a story too.

Unknown said...

It's a great way to inject culture into your world building - I'm a big fan of having traditions for my characters :)

Jamie @ Mithril Wisdom

Mel Chesley said...

@ M. J. ~ Sorry, lol!

@ Alex ~ I'd love to visit Japan someday.

@ Hart ~ That's a cool tradition. There is always a special meal we request in my family as well for like, birthdays and such.

@ Jai ~ Heck yeah! That's the best part of traditions.

@ Jamie ~ I agree.

Elsie Amata said...

We have some great traditions in our house. Some are from watching football, others are from when the kids are little and others from holidays.

My favorite is whenever Michael Strahan (NY Giant football player) was on the field, we all yelled, "Michael"