Guess who I am?  For those of you who are Rocky Horror aficionados you know exactly who I am and for the rest of you well, you’ve missed out on one of the most fascinating traditions that started a break thru in barriers way before its’ time.  I first heard of Rocky Horror far before I was ever old enough to view it when I was told I looked just like Susan Sarandon.  And no… I wasn’t running around in my bra and a slip.  Later when I was old enough to see the movie it was already a tradition of epic proportions where midnight movies became the norm and activities like throwing toast at the stage, shouting various sayings at key moments, dressing up in costumes to attend and of course who can forget dancing to the Time Warp.  The movie came out in 1975 and Rocky still graces theaters and stages to this very day. Whether you agree with the movie or not it has become a lasting tradition.  Last year I attended a local live production and they changed it from the original costumes and score just enough that I felt lost, utterly betrayed and my costume which you see pictured was not only not needed but passé. How could they change Rocky?

This year as the Rocky production rolled around, I found myself for the first time in decades not wanting to go.  The theater that produces the live version only does it every other year alternating with the Boom here in OKC.  The Boom shows the movie and has a traditional skit which they do an outstanding job but even with as good as it is, this year it didn’t hold any appeal.  I realized that the one act of what the  director of the live show thought was original and creative simply ruined the TRADITION.  Turns out when traditions are changed, I am not the only one that feels lost or out of sorts.

Tradition is the practice of a ritual handed down from generation to generation.  While it doesn’t seem like much on the surface mental health professionals have recognized traditions are important for our mental health because they connect us to our roots and give us a sense of stability.

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READ ON to learn more about why traditions are important and how they impact our mental health….

Traditions offer so much more than a simple routine.  It doesn’t have to be something fancy.  In my family, I started getting my children pajamas for the holidays.  I didn’t do it to create a tradition but last year when my girls were explaining to their boyfriends when they opened their PJ’s that they always get them and how much they like them I realized I had created a tradition.  Holidays are full of traditions where favorite dishes are served and the list goes on.

  • Traditions reinforce values.
  • Traditions are a way to create lasting memories.
  • Cultural traditions are a way to pass down important history, beliefs and values.
  • Religious traditions help reinforce connection with the respective deities.
  • Family traditions strengthen family bonds and help create a sense of identity.
  • Social traditions influence how people interact with each other. Think of graduation ceremonies or even the ritual of OU vs Texas or OU vs OSU.  A small change in these traditions can result in an outcry.
  • National traditions offer remembrance of important historic events like fourth of July, etc.
  • Seasonal traditions help set the mood for that particular season. Pumpkins on porches for fall help welcome the cool weather in and set up the expectation of leaves turning yellow and red.

We are entering the season of traditions.  Don’t worry if you don’t have any.  Maybe it’s time to start a new one?  Remember it doesn’t have to be something fancy.  Just start doing it and do it every year and you will start to feel more and more connected.

To your health,

Laura