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

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 - - and remember, anyone who tries to tell you it’s a small world hasn’t tried to see it all.
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152 Responses to Travel theme – tradition

  1. There colorful formal dresses and a festive feel to the event. I’m drinking in the tradition:

  2. Perfect spot for a Quince. They do look like flowers. You were lucky to be there at the same time.
    Love the corridors and architecture

    • ailsapm says:

      Oh phil, if you ever get a chance to visit, take it – it’s quite the most extraordinary place – check out the post after this one which gives more info on the monastery.

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  4. Imelda says:

    lovely pictures – especially of the covered walk/arc. Thanks to your post –
    learned about this coming-of-age tradition. Here is my contribution – Fiesta!

    • ailsapm says:

      I love so many things about your post, Imelda – the image of neighbouring villagers arriving over armed with their own utensils to help prepare for the feast, you falling asleep to the rhythm of knives on the chopping blocks, and the idea that the two Parish Saints are still looking out for each other. I felt like I was experiencing the Fiesta through your eyes – really stellar writing! xxx

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  7. Marianne says:

    Hi Ailsa
    Great theme this week. It´s always lovely to look at everyone´s interpretations. Here´s mine:

    • ailsapm says:

      Really enjoyed your post, Marianne. I always get caught up in the romance of medieval festivals (although in reality I suspect medieval times were rather less romantic and rather more grimy and lice-ridden!) 🙂

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  9. deepa says:

    Lovely Pics. Its nice to know about other traditions. Here’s my entry (coupled with other themes!)

    • ailsapm says:

      Wonderful post, Deepa. I’m so glad you joined in the travel theme this week – I just got an education in Dusshera from you. Your Golu collection, and your sister’s, are stunning. xxx

  10. gingerbreadcafe says:

    Here is a traditional event I went to recently –

    • ailsapm says:

      Ooh, I love it, you can’t beat a good old battle between Yorks and Lancs. My mum’s from Leeds, so you can probably guess which side I’m bound to support. 😉

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  12. Fun theme, Ailsa! I love your photos and all the color in the Quinceañera dresses! Here’s my entry – hopefully better late than never!

    • ailsapm says:

      What a great idea. I may have to hold my very own soup day. Those plates are wonderful, although when I looked at your photo my first thought was gosh, who’s going to do the washing up, there are so many bowls!

  13. tms says:

    Great theme, Ailsa! I am thinking of something, playing around with ideas about trafitional English gardening, but I may be late (I’ll have to scan the pictures first, because I work with – well – traditional b&w film). However: This post is food for thought, and I thank you for that!

  14. Pingback: Travel theme – tradition (Swedish Midsummer celebration) | One step at a time

  15. dema1497 says:

    Hi Ailsa, it is a bit late but hopefully my post will make you (or others) come to Sweden soon 🙂 enjoy!

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  17. Sunshine says:

    Very beautiful post, Ailsa. Thanks!

  18. travtrails says:

    What a colorful ceremony. I witnessed the same in Sam Houston Garden, Texas.
    My post on

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    • ailsapm says:

      Oooh I just love the film Under the Tuscan Sun (isn’t Diane Lane marvellous?) I was very happy to see the gelato resurrected – the raspberry rosemary sounds heavenly! San Gimignano looks beautiful and I love that you caught a Punch & Judy show. Haven’t seen one of those in the longest time. Fabulous post! xxx

  20. tms says:

    It’s late but it’s here:
    I really enjoyed this theme! Thanks, Ailsa.

    • ailsapm says:

      I loved your photos, tms – I never think of photographing flowers in black and white and yet it produces the most extraordinary images if done well. I love them all, but that second photo of the flowers by the step is stunning. xx

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