This is a post about an age old tradition lost in time and whether that’s a shame or not. Just for clarity, when i say Sunday dinner, i mean the family meal on Sunday shared and eaten by the whole family, at dinner time! Not anytime from 6-8 in the evening. I mean in the middle of the day or early afternoon at latest! Anyway, to dinner…
Sunday lunch is a time honored tradition going back hundreds of years to when it was necessary to celebrate the seventh day of the week, the holy day of rest, with a family feast and the saying of grace, which is thanking god for the meal and adding in anything you may have missed at church that morning, before engaging in gleeful convocation while enjoying a meal that should last for hours. It was much more a social event geared to last the whole afternoon than just a meal, as no one worked on Sunday and you weren’t even meant to go out on Sundays. Except for going to and from church, preparing this meal was the only finger you were supposed to lift on Sunday.
From a modern perspective, i think it’s safe to say, this was never going to last. For one thing, many people, even religious ones in this modern age no longer believe in Sunday being a day of rest for all as the holy day. People are know asked and even required to work on Sunday. This i have no quarrels with, but what it means is that over time, family’s have moved the Sunday dinner to later in the day or early evening. This move sparked an irreversible effect on the length and popularity of the Sunday dinner.
Children are more active in the evening to stay awake, so there more likely to play with there food or act up. The whole basis of the meal being a social event to last the afternoon was completely demolished in the move, as children had to go to bed at certain times, leaving just the meal as the main focus of the family gathering. This is alright, but every now and then the person who cooks it may be too tired to, so the meal suffers and the family has a worse evening for it.
Teenagers are another reason for the destruction of the Sunday dinner. Being allowed out a lot later than they use to, they want to be able to come home to find dinner on the table, pretty much, eat it and then dash out again back to there friends. This could easily be stopped by parents by grounding or making the teen stay for the whole meal, but that means silence and scolds for an angry teen for the whole meal, which isn’t the desired effect and so pointless.
The final nail in Sunday dinners coffin is T.V. As evening T.V., especially in winter takes up so much time in our lives, and we want to watch it so badly, what was a family event of self entertainment at the dinner table, has become an evening of staring at the T.V. together for half an hour as we eat.
Cumulatively, these have had a very fatal effect on Sunday lunch, but everything I’ve typed up till now can be avoided, except working on Sunday, by a family who are devoted to sitting down at the dinner table for, even just thirty minuets one day in the week, to have some proper family time. Only, people today just don’t seem to want to do that.
Some parents don’t switch off from work, so won’t entertain 30 minuets of email, call and text silence for family. Most Teens just want to sit on there phones for the meal talking to other people via social media instead of having a real convocation with people who love them, just inches away! Some parents can’t cook, which is a fair excuse in my opinion as a Sunday dinner is not the easiest of meals if your not a dab hand in the kitchen. But, parents who can’t be bothered to cook, i think have no excuse!
People have forgotten, or no longer care about Sunday dinner, but is that a bad thing? Does the image of a family sitting together for a large meal once a week fit the modern demographic. There’s no official call for the Sunday meal to return from either Parliament, Government or religious leaders, so it’s defiantly not necessary anymore, but is it still wanted? My parents remember, so this is only one generation ago, being kept in as kids and teens, sometimes against there will, to eat Sunday dinner with the family, and my dad was made to enjoy it. Is this an acceptable state of affairs for a modern family? How would you feel if your friend was having a Sunday dinner every week at 1 o’clock; would you respect them, or feel sorry for them? How would you react if your family decided to have Sunday dinner?
Personally, my family and me have Sunday dinner, at DINNER time, and we enjoy it. Also, i think, despite the fact that i enjoy it, that the whole idea is outdated. Having said that, i don’t think it should just be forgotten. Especially not the way it is, just disappearing unnoticed into the past just as “a thing we use to do”. So here, i’m doing my bit to remember the fading Sunday dinner.
I hope you found this post informative, fairly balanced and enjoyable.
That Other Guy