Traditionally determined by seasonal harvests, religion, or just plain-ol’ what our parents (and their parents) did, many of the most valuable rituals of life were typically taken for granted. But now with extreme mobilization and globalization combined with a modern snobbishness, broken families, and rapid cultural change — when it comes to the question of “how to live?” — we find ourselves aimless and lost at sea. Having eschewed most ritual and tradition altogether, we are gradually sobering up to a sense that we may have lost something we really needed. And now we wish we hadn’t thrown the oars and the map overboard.
We’re hungry for tradition (the democracy of the dead), meaningful food culture, helpful gender and generational roles, fasting and feasting and the many cultural rituals that somehow managed to infuse thousands of years of accumulated human wisdom into the simplest of lives.