seasonal traditions

Last week, after a blazing Indian Summer throughout northern Europe, autumn hit us again with full force – wind, cold, drizzly rain and shocking showers. From wearing our summer dresses far later in the year than ever before, we are suddenly all pulling out those thick jerseys from storage, switching on the heating, or – in the case of us who currently have no heating due to a temperamental boiler (a “piece of s***” as the last Belgian technician so beautifully put it) – locating the hot water bottles in the back of the cupboard.

Despite the rain and the cold, I really love autumn. Almost as much as I love spring with all the excitement of new life and everything growing, the current glorious changing colours of the countryside and crisp evenings with hot pink skies, well it’s all just as beautiful.

It’s a great season for inbetweens – being still warm enough that you’ll brave it in your warm coat and new scarf in order to take a walk kicking the fallen leaves or enjoying the dances of the birds about to flee for the winter to warmer climes. But being cool enough to not need an excuse to stay in, bake some snickerdoodle cookies or apple pie and curl up under warm blankets with friends for an easy afternoon of nattering.

The significance of the changing seasons is due to the traditions and the habits that come with them. It’s my memories of collecting blackberries outside our back gate as a child and my mum turning them and the neighbour’s apples into delicious apple and blackberry crumbles that make me continue to long for a chance to go blackberry picking again.

It’s the thought of lighting the fire in the living room and then carrying through a tray of cheese and crackers for our supper together that makes me light all our candles (in the absence of an actual fireplace) and want to eat comfort food off our laps.

Kelle at Enjoying the Small Things, wrote last week about the importance of tradition to mark the passing seasons, those she was given by her parents, and those she hands on to her children. She wrote so beautifully, I wanted to quote her here:

“It isn’t leaves and temperature drops and cold rosy cheeks at a football game that make fall what it is. It is the grounding rituals of tradition, the return to the foundation of what matters most…our home, our family, our stories. 

…And I think that’s what I love so much about fall. I feel my power as a mom more–that honor of writing the pages of their childhood. With cozy nights and candles, baking and gift-making, setting the table for holiday meals, and planning–always planning for more opportunites to be together. With neighbors, with friends, with family.”