Sunday, 29 November 2009
Heritage and Traditions
Image : Penpont Artists open day Brecon October 2009 (c) Rhys Jones
Today is the 1st Sunday in Advent. This is traditionally a period of waiting and anticipation for the events that people in the Christian world over centuries have believed happened with the coming of a saviour. Not everyone believes in that but the idea of a mid-winter feast has gripped the imagination of everyone no matter what religion and all families have their own ways of celebrating by the keeping of traditions.
My younger son is working on a school project to trace his ancestry - the stories that have been handed down to us is that Matthew is distantly related to Fletcher Christian (Mutiny on the Bounty) on his mum's side of the family. On my side of the family, there is a connection to Thomas Sayers who was a pugilist and bare-knuckle fighter and in 1860 became world heavyweight boxing champion when he defeated John C Heenan of the United States. He is buried in Highgate Cemetery in London and his funeral was reported to have been attended by thousands.
Proving that connection has involved and is still involving research through public records of births marraiages and deaths, census returns and parish records and will involve a visit next year to the Isle of Man where many of the Christian family now reside. We have come across some very interesting discoveries about members of our family from generations ago and gained some insight to how they lived and their hopes and fears as human beings. Some sad discoveries have also been made. We wonder what research will be done on us in 100 years from now and what our descendents will make of blogs, facebook and all the other tools which have augmented the traditional pen and paper letters and diaries that people have kept in the past.
People leave their mark on the world in so many ways - some prefer to keep their deeds and how they are feeling secret and known to only a few close friends and some like to proclaim things to the world - people are free to chose and long may that freedom of choice prevail. People have a million ways to be happy and to be sad and the hope is that everyone will find happiness in their lives doing things their own way.
It is though one of the nicest things in life to share thoughts and words and enter in dialogue with others. It is this by this means that lasting friendships are formed in my opinion. If one doesn't hear from a person for a long period one can always think of that friend by the conversations and exchanges one has shared in the past - in extreme cases a lasting friendship has been formed in just one meeting in life.