A family reunion is normally a gathering of extended family members. This can be done at any time of the year depending on the need or convenience. It will normally consist of grandparents, parents, children and their offspring.
We southerners have however taken family reunions a notch higher. They are normally done at the same time of year, same place (or a rotation), and each year.
Some of them would be just an afternoon of catching up over a quiet lunch, while others would be a whole weekend of eating, good music and catching up. This would be a time for family members to know developments in different families, celebrate achievements and solve existing family issues. Over the years, the composition of these gatherings would change due to members passing on, birth of babies, separations and marriages.
Family gatherings will normally be held at grandparents place, a member’s home or at the local church. The sense of place is really important as the family members would have a walk through the cemetery or visit to grave yards in memory of their departed loved ones.
Key to note in such gatherings is the food. A family reunion in the south could never be complete without good food, coffee, salad and beer. Different recipes would represent a particular person or a tie in the past or a tradition of the family. Tables would be filled with fried chicken, barbecue, greens, biscuit and gravy, corn bread, devilled eggs, mashed potatoes, cheesy pasta bakes among other sweet food. Aunts and mothers would prepare dishes that they are good at. You would also never miss ice cold sweet tea. The main reason they cook good food is to remember their traditions and pass them on over the years. The evocative smells of good food during the reunion would always remind you about particular family members and always bring new ideas for the next reunions. Indeed good food will always bring people together, It’s no wonder the southerners are well known for their ability to cook good food for the masses.
While taking lunch, family members would be catching up and going through old albums and bringing memories .Grandparents would be telling stories to the young generation. There would be a family photographer taking group photos. This is very important for creating memories of the past that would be passed on to generations to come.
Another very important aspect of these reunions is good music and storytelling. Family members would entertain each other playing the guitar and singing. This is the reason why southerners are known to be good musicians and story tellers. They will hold competitions of dancing, storytelling and even singing. This would be done late into the night as they enjoy dessert and beer.
In conclusion, annual family reunion in the South is a really important event that cannot be overlooked. It is a time family members meet and remind each other of their past and traditions. It is also a time to be entertained, develop talent and enjoy good food.