Travel theme – tradition

When I was in Washington DC I discovered a beautiful little monastery hiding in the Brookland neighbourhood. The secrets of the interior are the subject of my post Catacombs and Old Byzantium I, but the grounds of this beautiful monastery were equally captivating. It was ablaze with colour, flowers bursting out everywhere, and graceful arches surrounding the carefully manicured gardens.

tradition franciscan monastery washington dc

tradition franciscan monastery washington dc

As I wandered along the winding pathways and covered arches, I noticed girls in brightly coloured dresses wafting across the lawns. The first group I saw looked for all the world like a wedding party.

tradition franciscan monastery washington dc quinceañera

However, as more and more groups appeared in their dazzling finery, I began to suspect there was something different going on. After a few conversations, I discovered that I was witnessing the centuries-old Latin American tradition of Quinceañera, a coming-of-age celebration, sometimes referred to as Sweet 15. Resembling a cross between the casual Sweet 16 and the more formal Debutantes’ Ball; the celebration usually includes a religious ceremony, a dance and a feast. The grounds of the monastery provided the perfect setting for each Quinceañera and her court to have their photographs taken.

tradition franciscan monastery washington dc quinceañera

tradition franciscan monastery washington dc quinceañera

Tradition is an integral part of any culture. The word comes from the Latin traditio, and means to transmit or hand over for safekeeping. It is something handed down from generation to generation, and can be a ritual, a holiday, socially meaningful clothes, even an object. Traditions can be widespread throughout a country or specific to just one family, and I thought it might make a fascinating travel theme.

What is your interpretation of tradition? If you’d like to join in, create your own post, title it “Travel theme: tradition” and put a link to this page in your blog post to make it easy for others to find your post. Don’t forget to check back in next Friday for a new travel theme.

What does tradition mean to you?

xxx Ailsa

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About ailsapm

Hi there! I’m Ailsa Prideaux-Mooney. I’ve lived in many places, and travelled to many more. I had a lot of fun getting there and being there, wherever there happened to be at the time. I climbed a castle wall in Czesky Krumlov, abseiled down cliffs to go caving in the west of Ireland, slept on the beach in Paros, got chased by a swarm of bees in Vourvourou (ok that wasn’t fun, but it was exciting), learned flower arranging in Tokyo, found myself in the middle of a riot in Seoul, learned to snowboard in Salzburg, got lost in a labyrinth in Budapest and had my ice cream stolen by a gull in Cornwall. And I’m just getting started. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, I’d love you to follow my travelogue - wheresmybackpack.com - and remember, anyone who tries to tell you it’s a small world hasn’t tried to see it all.
This entry was posted in District of Columbia, Photography, Travel, United States, Weekly Travel Themes and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

152 Responses to Travel theme – tradition

  1. I’ve never seen this monastery in Washington and I’ve lived there for over 20 years!! 🙂 Thanks for sharing…

  2. Wonderful!

    Even though this recycles an old post, here is a tradition that we still try to keep up: http://windagainstcurrent.com/2011/12/27/christmas-tree-light-the-old-fashioned-way/

    It’s never too early, or too late, in the year to think about Christmas!

  3. adinparadise says:

    Great photos for the theme, Ailsa. Those dresses are beautiful. 😉
    I did a post today, but I don’t think my subscribers received notifications. I know you subscribe to my blog. Did you get an e-mail? http://adinparadise.wordpress.com/2012/07/19/lovely-florence-michelangelos-david-and-the-italian-bridegroom/

  4. autumninbruges says:

    Oh well… this is challenging. Will try to come out with something… xx Eli

  5. cinova says:

    I could have taken this in a few different directions…nice theme, Ailsa.
    http://cinova.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/travel-theme-tradition/

  6. camel wrestling in Turkey to celebrate the new year
    http://wp.me/p18B5-yK

    • ailsapm says:

      Oh boy, some really great photos, but I can’t help but worry about the camels. Do you know if they get injured during the wrestling, or do the owners make sure they’re safe once one camel has admitted defeat? The blankets are stunning.

  7. Pingback: travel theme: tradition « The journey is the destination. You carry your journey with you.

  8. Anne Camille says:

    I wrote about a Thanksgiving and Christmas tradition in my family last November. I may submit something else for this challenge, but for now, here is a link. http://fourdeeroak.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/thanksgiving-traditions-and-root-vegetables/

    Sorry to link to a link, but I originally posted this on OpenSalon (before it got too spammy and slow & I gave up posting on it). What I posted on WordPress at the time was a link to that essay. I wanted to repost in WP but am having trouble logging into my OS account to import the text. I hope you find it worth two clicks; it’s one of my favorite essays that I’ve written.

  9. Joy says:

    Absolutely beautiful! I LOVE all of the different colors!

  10. CanadianTravelBugs says:

    Great theme Ailsa! I am sorry to say no time to get something together as I am packing and heading off to Cuba for 2 glorious weeks! Maybe that is my tradition… summer vacations!

    • ailsapm says:

      I can’t think of a better tradition, CTB – have an amazing time, and take LOTS of photos to share with us all! xxx Ailsa

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  12. marina says:

    Great post: love the arch shot and the colorful dresses!
    My entry is here http://nprimopiano.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/lucias-boat-under-glass/

    • ailsapm says:

      Really lovely, Marina. Do you actually live on the shores of Lake Como? I cannot imagine a more beautiful place to live! xxx

      • marina says:

        I was born in Lecco on lake Como. I moved to USA at age 28, and I go visit my family regularly. And, yes, it is a beautiful place 🙂

  13. tacts says:

    Washington D.C is such a lovely place… would love to go there again 🙂

  14. trishworth says:

    Ailsa, your story about the debutantes is very interesting. I learned something. Photos of colourful cultures always make me feel pale. Perhaps I should take the hint!
    I found a photo of a buffalo herdsman continuing his traditional slow-paced agricultural ways in the middle of a modern city (well, modern 1940s). http://soundslikewish.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/ailsas-travel-photo-challenge-tradition/

    • ailsapm says:

      I’m the same, Trish. Watching those girls, I thought I should really make an effort to brighten up my predominantly neutral wardrobe. Your photo is wonderful, that little baby buffalo is too cute for words. xxx

  15. cocoaupnorth says:

    Wow! beautiful tradition they have. Lovely pics.

  16. Pingback: Travel Theme: Tradition… « gypsy life

  17. Pingback: Travel Theme: Tradition « A year in the Life

  18. livvy30 says:

    Love the colours of the dresses! Mine’s a little bit similar 🙂 http://ayearinmyshoes.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/travel-theme-tradition/

    • ailsapm says:

      Gorgeous, Livvy, you can’t beat a good old wedding! And it is travelling of a sort – travelling along the road of life, right? 😉

  19. Cathy G says:

    How wonderful that you happened upon a Quinceañera! They are celebrations of culture, family and blessings. Thank-you for sharing!

    • ailsapm says:

      Glad you enjoyed it, Cathy. I feel very lucky that I was there at the perfect time to catch not one, but three different celebrations. xxx

  20. I am getting a headache! I thought about this – obsessively – yesterday. I feel TRADITIONLESS! Is that a word? And I feel horrible because of it. If my brain doesn’t explode, and I come up with something, I’ll be back (as Arnold says). Otherwise, I’ll jump on board next week. 😦

  21. Pingback: Travel Theme: Tradition « beyondpaisley

  22. gkm2011 says:

    Looks beautiful!

  23. DagEnDauw says:

    Hi Ailsa,

    What a cheerfull pictures, and a lovely theme you chose for this week.
    As Flanders is famous for its Burgundian lifestyle and its lust for partying, and this fortnight the capital of our province ‘Ghent’ has its traditional “feasts” I thought it might be a good idea to give my personal impression in a picture, accompanied with a traditional song from a local artist who anualy opens the “Gentse feesten” with this song for more than 40 years already…
    Hope you enjoy my entry (the music you can hear by clicking on the picture) :
    http://dauwgalerij.blogspot.be/2012/07/gentsche-fieste-2012.html

    Kind regards and have a nice weekend
    – Dauw –

  24. DagEnDauw says:

    I can’t help it, but instantly this song popped up in my mind when I saw your new traveltheme,
    and now I’m constantly singing : Traditiooooon, tradition… not able to put it out of my head =)

    I wonder if it has the same effect on you..?
    http://dagendauwsnotenbalk.blogspot.be/2012/07/tradition-uit-fiddler-on-roof.html

  25. Pingback: Travel theme: Tradition | Regina Savy

  26. Regina says:

    Hi there! I decided to join to the Travel Theme, so here´s my contribution!
    http://reginasavy.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/travel-theme-tradition/

  27. Pingback: TRAVEL THEME: TRADITION « Francine In Retirement

  28. fgassette says:

    Thank you for this week’s challenge. Your photos are wonderful and very colorful. Here is my entry for this week. Tradition of the Amish http://wp.me/p23TG1-13h

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

    • ailsapm says:

      Fascinating, Francine. I adore the colours of nature that they use – that shed almost blends into the hill behind it – and the house interiors are really lovely. I don’t think I would do too well without electricity though – it would make blogging a little difficult! xxx

  29. Pingback: Travel Theme: Tradition | Lucid Gypsy

  30. Gilly Gee says:

    In England you can’t get more traditional than this! Love them or hate them!
    http://lucidgypsy.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/travel-theme-tradition/

    • ailsapm says:

      Chuckling away right now, Gilly; when I read your comment above I guessed immediately what you had decided to post about. Love it. Have you seen the play ‘Jerusalem’ – it was at the Royal Court with Mark Rylance (it came to Broadway too – won all kinds of awards)? It had an absolutely hysterical Morris dancing scene in it. xxx

  31. The monastary is GEORGEOUS, but, the dresses are out of this world!

    • ailsapm says:

      Yes, the dresses were dreamy – but wait until you see my next post about the interior of the monastery, spectacular! xxx

  32. Pingback: Travel theme – Tradition « Implicado

  33. Love your blog! Francine introduced me through her blog. I will have to follow. Fun stuff! How lucky for you to happen upon this interesting ritual and happy occasion. Absolutely LOVE the photos of the monastery, the gardens and those arched walkways took my breath away! Can hardly wait to see the interior! I do love a challenge. I’ll try to come up with something between now and Thursday. 😉

    • ailsapm says:

      Hi Carol, nice to meet you (thanks Francine!) It really was a stroke of luck to be at the monastery when those girls were there in their gorgeous dresses. I’m writing about the interior now, there’s so much to show it may well end up being two posts – should be up shortly! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with for the challenge! 🙂 Ailsa

  34. Pingback: Ailsa’s travel photo challenge: Tradition « Sounds like wish

    • ailsapm says:

      So cool, I love the colours in the photo. Is the ingqayi traditionally made of wood? I love how it’s so smooth it gleams in the sunlight. xxx

      • cocoaupnorth says:

        Thanks:-). Ingqayi is traditional made of clay, more like pottery. There could be a wooden version of it, perhaps.
        Have a great week…x

        • ailsapm says:

          I wasn’t sure from the photo whether it was wooden or clay. So have you been offered this home brew just the once, or has it happened on several occasions? I’m guessing the beer is an acquired taste….

          • cocoaupnorth says:

            I come from a background that practices this tradition (Xhosa people of South Africa). Not only have I been offered, but we brew it when having traditional celebrations e.g. weddings.

            The taste leans towards sour. Personally I don’t like it (gives me heartburn) but the sorghum porridge which is made from I like:-)

          • ailsapm says:

            I’ve only ever used sorghum in bread; I must try making a porridge out of it!

  35. Pingback: Travel Theme; Tradition « So where's the snow?

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  38. autumninbruges says:

    Just one picture to show how sometimes tradition is carried to its excess… http://autumninbruges.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/travel-theme-tradition/

    • ailsapm says:

      Oh Anna, this made me laugh out loud, the idea of poor old Ramingstein falling over because the guy inside had too much shandy – and then putting his head on back to front. Hysterical.

  39. Amy says:

    Colorful, cheerful, and beautiful photos! Thank you, Ailsa! Here is my contribution: http://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/travel-theme-tradition/

    • ailsapm says:

      Your photos are equally colourful, cheerful and beautiful, Amy – I feel the need to visit Siena just to experience that parade. Those costumes are outstanding, as are those from Athens. I find traditional dress so fascinating.

  40. Pingback: Travel Theme– Tradition | The World Is a Book…

  41. Thanks Ailsa! My contribution to the theme : Tradition, The Thai Rituals – https://colorodyssey.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/the-thai-spirit/

    • ailsapm says:

      Gorgeous series of photos, Ritu. The longtail boats are my absolute favourite, the boats themselves are such stunning colours, and made even more beautiful by the addition of flowers and ribbons.

  42. Pingback: Travel Theme Tradition – Kili Jodishyam! « The Urge To Wander

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