Reflections on Family Tradition
For as long as I can remember, our family celebrated the holidays with pomegranates.
On Christmas Eve, we would place our stockings at the end of the bed. In the morning, each stocking would always be filled with small gifts and topped with the heavy, red fruit.
With a sharp knife, we would carefully slice a cross into the top before breaking them open to reveal their hidden treasures. The juice would stain my hands as I plucked the shimmering, red arils straight out of the inner skin to devour immediately. I couldn’t be happier than to quietly sit at our kitchen table as I hunted for every last ruby morsel.
My grandfather was born in Macedonia, near Greece. As a young man, he immigrated to Canada during World War II. He was extremely hard-working and saved every penny to open a small restaurant in London, Ontario. He would eventually run the restaurant with the help of his growing family, including my mother.
Every year at Christmas, my grandfather would order a special case of pomegranates to share with his children. They were difficult to find in Ontario and had to be imported from Europe. My mother can remember wearing his restaurant apron to catch the juice as she enjoyed that rare treat.
This Christmas Eve, my 5-year-old son and I carried on the tradition that my grandfather brought with him to Canada and that my mother then passed on to me. As my little one tasted the first few seeds, I felt a warm sense of pride as we shared the moment together. I couldn’t help but wonder if someday he will continue this small part of our family history with his own children.
Whether it’s sharing pomegranates, hot cocoa or cozy new pajamas, I hope that you have the opportunity to make memories this holiday season with those whom you cherish most.