Why We Celebrate Anniversaries
There’s always something to remember, isn’t there? There’s either a Jubilee, or another year since the Moon Landings, or, on a more personal level, the Golden Wedding of your parents or your child’s first birthday. Some anniversaries are more sombre, like the death of a loved one or the outbreak of war. Whatever happens, whether you just take a few moments to think about the person you miss or whether you lay on a lavish bash, anniversaries are part of what makes us human.
Remembering significant events brings people together, gives us pause to reflect and to give one another comfort or support. It can also offer cultural cohesion and identity, in the case of a national or an independence day. Anniversaries can also be an excuse for a splurge, as many companies celebrate significant birthdays by having giveaway competitions.
The chance to look back and forward
When there’s an anniversary, we tend to look back over the years and see how far we’ve come, or what changes we’ve made since the event happened. This looking back helps us to achieve greater understanding of ourselves and our loved ones, as well as a greater understanding of history and society.
Wedding or partnership anniversaries
People often feel mixed emotions at the time of a wedding anniversary as there’s sometimes pressure to do something huge when in actual fact the couple might just want to get away for a weekend to rediscover one another. Couples can lose themselves in family and work life, and organising a big party which involves extended family and friends can be seen as just another aspect of this.
This is why anniversaries are a good chance to take some time out to focus on the relationship and to spend time alone together. There’s time for a big party later.
Remembering the death of a loved one
Some anniversaries are sad – when we remember the passing of a beloved relative, spouse or friend. Many people like to take the time to think about the lost person and about the effect they had on those around them. It’s a kind thing to make a phone call, or to send a card on significant days like this so the bereaved people don’t feel that they’re alone. Very often people plant a tree or make a garden space so that they have somewhere physical where they can go to reflect upon the life of the deceased, away from day-to-day concerns and distractions.
Remembering national or world events
Some dates are fixed in the global memory, like May 8 1945, when World War II ended in Europe, or September 11 2001, when New York’s World Trade Center was attacked. It’s important for humanity to pause for a few moments on these days to think about war and conflict, as well as joyful events like peace agreements and liberation. These events have a huge effect on the world as a whole and we mustn’t forget how bad wars can be – hopefully this will help us to avoid repeating past mistakes.
*this is a collaborative post*