By Vasiliki Theodosiou,

Are these two words contradicting each other? Is there any chance they can actually go together? People say that history repeats itself and, historically speaking, young people have a tendency to keep a distance from anything related to the past, all kinds of traditions included.

You could blame it on the age as well as the rebellious and innovative ways of thinking that go with it, but sometimes things are not what they seem to be. Maybe there is good reason lying behind the age factor and maybe age is closely related to education. For quite a few students out there, national celebrations, annual fests and even the traditional Sunday family dinner have an obligatory “got-to-do” context. What is more, anything that one is forced to do is definitely not welcome. In other words, when you have to do something just because it needs to be done, it is not very easy to enjoy the process of actually doing it. Although it may sound complicated, it is in fact very simple. People enjoy “all the simple things in life”, like drinking their morning coffee, exactly because they choose to do so. Nobody tells you to make a morning coffee without sugar, but somebody might tell you to read a poem about a national celebration that you don’t even know what it is about. Oh and by the way, you will have to do that in front of the whole school. After this, how can one perceive tradition and history as something fun and worth knowing about?

Of course, all these efforts do not happen in vain. Knowing more about history helps in avoiding mistake repetition and the distancing of youth from the past. Introducing background information on why and what it is we celebrate along with turning celebrations into impactful interactive events could be the way forward whereas reading a poem out loud in public might not really lead anywhere. Not that it is not a nice way of commemorating an event but it would be way nicer, if it came as a result of your own research or your own feelings about the topic. It would be equally nice, if it came as a result of a group effort on researching on the matter or even of a creative discussion on it.

To cut a long story short, even realising the importance of spending time with your family could also potentially contribute in perceiving the Sunday gathering as quality time spent with your loved ones and not as one more chore in your to-do list.

Besides, disassociating yourself from certain situations only for the sake of doing it, won’t make them go away. The need to commemorate certain events by creating new ones or the need to schedule that family dinner is still there and always will be. The chance to learn something from it or simply have a good time lies in your hands. Unless you are a teacher and you have the responsibility to organise that celebration. If that is the case, make sure to make everyone aware of what you are going to do and why you are going to do it.

So it begins, tradition and the youth. Two words that can actually go together. Because sometimes looking back might show you the way forward.

Vasiliki Theodosiou

Graduate of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki with a specialisation in Linguistics. Former member of the European Youth Parliament and TEDxAUTH. Apart from her linguistic background she also has a musical background as the latter constitutes a field that she is equally fond of.