The word rituals implies a long, drawn-out affair filled with symbolism, but I've slowly come to realize that they can be simpler than that. They can be daily habits (like a good morning greeting or a simple text) that have taken on increased significance because of repetition.
It's my birthday today (or tomorrow) depending on where in the world you live. On that day, I expect no birthday cake or big celebration, but I will look forward to personal greetings from friends over text messages and phone calls.
|A photo of my husband's birthday cake last year. Photo by: Carren Jao.|
Then, there are some rituals that aren't always here to stay, but will always be remembered. I'm talking about birthday misua, a Fujian noodle dish made with super long noodles that symbolize long life. Every year, since I was young, I was served a healthy helping of this filling dish filled with a variety of meats (shrimps, fish balls, chicken bits) and vegetables (Chinese cabbage, carrots and mushrooms) and topped with a single hard-boiled egg. I loathed the hard boiled egg because I felt my mouth dry up too much upon trying to chomp down on it, but I loved everything else about it.
|A version of birthday misua via BlauEarth|
Every milestone in life is filled with these little rituals--acts or objects that help us mark a moment in our life. It makes that day seem a little different from the rest of the 364 days that come before and after it. The city itself is filled with these rituals: annual festivals, beloved award shows, even simple ribbon-cutting ceremonies. It's the same concept writ larger.
What little rituals have you come to cherish?