Today we had more people in our house than there have ever been. And it's all for an event that no longer exists.
In my culture (and religion...) young men leave home after the graduate from high school and leave on church missions. Young women also serve, but it's not expected like the young men. It's something I did after I graduated and back then--in the dark ages--we had what we called "Missionary Farewells" where the one called to serve would speak in church.
In addition, members of the missionary's families would participate in the program. Parents would give talks, and siblings would speak, pray, or provide musical numbers. It was a production and extended family members would come from miles around to share the moment with the missionary and their family.
Years ago, I can't remember when exactly, the church tweaked the traditions--I believe--for the better. For one, the meetings are no longer called "Missionary Farewells." Family members are not asked to participate, though I believe they probably do sometimes...you know, musical numbers. And the entire church meeting is not centered around the missionary.
One tradition that's remained is a gathering after the meeting. We've had parties and get-togethers at our house before, but never like this. Our house was packed with friends and family. It was tough to get around, but totally worth it. Of course, not everyone could be with us and they were missed, but we were so happy to have a full house.
So, if anyone asks, we had a very successful and fun Un-Farewell.