Traditions are usually thought of as being good. In fact, I'm not even aware of a word that implies a bad tradition. If you break the word down, it has a long history. Coming from the now dead language of latin, the original word is 'traditio'. Not too different from our modern word. And if you look at the roots of 'traditio', it's actually a combination of two words. The first is 'trans' which means 'over'. Pretty straight forward, like in 'transcontinental' or 'transport'. It implies a moving from one place to another. The second part is the verb 'dare' which means 'to give'. So literally, it means 'to give something over' which has now come to mean 'to hand down from one generation to the next'.
I think for my mom today, the literal meaning of 'to hand over' is much more appropriate. Today is her birthday. Last year, she spent it down at MDACC with my brother while he was getting his tonsils removed. There was still some element of hope in the eyes of those around me then. Today, she's down there with her husband so he can get the second infusion of immunoglobulins (basically, he's getting the antibodies pooled together from numerous donors in an effort to provide some reinforcements for his compromised immune system). So for two consecutive birthdays, she has handed over with hope something quite precious to the entrusted care of MDACC.
My dad has entered the blogosphere giving his own thoughts on this journey. You can read him here.