Anniversaries are an important opportunity to stop and take time to reflect on the importance of a particular person, day or time in our life. There may be public anniversaries, eras of national celebration and euphoria as a real gold wedding anniversary, where there is a lot of coverage of everything that has happened during the intervening years since the original event, which caused a moment of national nostalgia. Or there may be anniversaries that commemorate a special national triumph, as a great sporting achievement. And these times can provide important opportunities to unite as a nation and reinforce the united sense of pride and loyalty of a country or community.
There can also be anniversaries that offer a moment of national mourning, a time to respect and commemorate people who have died on our behalf, the value of people who experienced great difficulties or difficulties for an important belief, right or freedom. The shared emotion of these times is also a time for individuals to remember their own experience of loss. Personal memories and associations are always a factor in the midst of a national emotion. We may have lost family members or loved ones, or we may feel empathy and have other experiences of loss that allow us to share and connect with feelings of deep emotion at this time.
Personal anniversaries are often a time of joy and celebration. Birthdays and wedding anniversaries can be times when the whole family strives to get together and celebrate, while catching up on the news and the closeness they may have been neglecting during the time elapsed. They can also be tinged with sadness and nostalgia, remembering people who are no longer there.
Some families maintain the tradition of celebrating a mother’s birthday long after her death. They know how much they enjoyed seeing the whole family together and continuing the tradition is an important way to honor their life and their memory. These times provide the opportunity for families to reconnect, to take the time to be together and reinforce the family bond once again.
Remembering the importance of an anniversary is also important. A couple can buy gifts and cards, go a weekend together on their wedding anniversary, but it is also important to take time to remember their vows and mutual commitment. It can provide an important time to reflect on their life together and the diverse experiences, challenges and successes they have had. These times offer the opportunity to stop and reflect on the importance of their relationship, how much it means to them and to value what they have. It provides an interlude to commit to fully appreciate it again.
Celebrating the life of a loved one who is no longer with us can be a very special way of remembering an anniversary. Some families may choose to share a meal, a toast, time together. National mourning for a public figure can also provide an opportunity for people to suffer for their personal loss, as they share the emotion of other people. Rituals can provide comfort and a sense of familiarity, of returning to the roots at a particular time. They can provide tranquility and grounding.
There may also be other types of anniversaries. Some people remember the moment they made an important decision, to end a marriage, quit their job, start their own business, change their image. Remembering these dates can be a moving occasion. Often, even if these choices turn out to be less than perfect or easy to achieve, the date of a major change in direction or the beginning of a new, eventful start can be remembered fondly and celebrated. We can take the time these days to assess what we have done, appreciate how brave we have been and give us credit for our achievements.