My parents are Italian and continue to practice a variety of traditions. I guess it's their way of holding onto the things that were important to them when they were growing up.
With Italians it's mostly about food! Probably because it was scarce and they had to improvise. Food became the focus of their daily lives. They were either growing, cooking, or preserving it. Sometimes, selling it.
Now, even though they lead more affluent lives, they have held onto the traditions that meant the most.
But I think too, that traditions somehow sneak into your subconscious and you're not even aware of them. You practice them automatically because it has always been done that way.
Today, as I was baking, I used my mother's method of testing if the cake was cooked, not with a skewer but with a long piece of uncooked spaghetti!