Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Different, but the same

In various parts of the world, people have developed different customs and practices to celebrate major milestones in our lives. In the North American society, we celebrate anniversaries of marriage, ordination or other significant life-changing moments. We also celebrate birthdays of family and friends. The established protocol in this part of the world is that friends or family members organize a party or other means of celebration to mark someone's birthday or anniversary.

By contrast, if we were born or raised in some parts of Europe, the party would be arranged by the one who is being fetted. Another major difference is that rather than celebrating birthdays, many European countries celebrate name day, the Feastday of the patron saint for whom a person was named.

In some cases, when people from these two cultures have the invaluable opportunity to learn from one another, we get that much closer to understanding one another, and to observing and celebrating according to each other's established norms.

Celebrate the significant moments in life, in your life, and in the lives of those who are dear to you. If possible, do so in person: there's no greater gift that you can give to some people than to share some of your time with them. If not, at least call, send an email or some other greeting to show how much you value the relationship.

We all have different ways of observing the moments of life. What is important is that we never lose sight of the importance of learning from the lessons life brings us. When we stop learning, life is over; if we continue to grow from these opportunities, the possibilities are endless.

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