Pirates invaded my hometown of Tampa this past weekend. To many this may seem unusual, but for the citizens of South Tampa it is a yearly occurrence, and actually something we really look forward to. The Mayor of Tampa hands over the key to the city to the Ye Mystic Krewe of Gaspariilla as they come in by pirate ship to invade the city. The day starts at the Tampa Yacht Club early in the morning when the Ye Mystic Krew (YMK) board the Jose Gaspar ship and take the journey across Tampa Bay to the Tampa Convention Center. The invasion is then celebrated by a huge parade full of bead throwing, coin tossing, and loud cannon blasts. It is our hometown version of Mardi Gras, but better. The Gasparilla tradition started 109 years ago by a group of successful South Tampa businessmen to celebrate Jose Gaspar, a mythical Spanish captain who supposedly operated in Southwest Florida. An average of 300,000 people attend, and it impacts the economy by an estimated 20 million a year.
Why Traditions are Important
This year, Gasparilla got me thinking about traditions and how important they are to the essence of life. They bring people together, strengthen bonds, and they’re fun! My family has a few traditions of our own. For example, as soon as I am done writing this blog I am going to enjoy some Italian food for dinner because it is Sunday night, and on Sunday nights we have Italian food. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, but as often as possible we enjoy an Italian meal, weather it is at home or at our favorite Italian restaurant. And on Christmas Eve I go to Westshore Mall with my daughter, we eat in the food court and do some last minute shopping, and then enjoy an Italian meal at home with friends and family. I’m actually Armenian and I’m not sure where all these Italian traditions came from, but I’m not complaining, they have some great food!
Traditions give you something to look forward to with your friends and family. They give you a sense of belonging, by brining everyone together for a common interest, and often just provide a reason to celebrate. I love my traditions, weather it is my Sunday night routine, Christams Eve, or Gasparilla weekend. They remind me of who I am, and I look forward to handing them down to future generations.
So, what are your favorite traditions?
Wishing you all the success you will allow yourselves to have!