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What was before culture, tradition and language?
Our culture is what we represent, we represent who we are to the rest. Our tradition is what we know from childhood, what our ancestors have passed on. Language is our source, our seed of communication. But I ask, do we know what was before? What we were before everything we are. What we knew before everything we know. You can say I am asking what was before, before everything. So be it, I am asking that but what I want to find out is, if my question has an answer or if it is unanswerable. Putting the negativeness aside let's look at what culture, tradition and language mean to the world.
Tradition is something we all have. It is something the world in general has. Tradition is our past and define the present. "It's the common values, morals, customs, and general culture that hold a society together. Traditions are a way to pass these things along from generation to generation."(http://www.daveblackonline.com/value_of_traditions.htm, daveblackonline, July 19, 2004,28/04/2011 ) The intricate designs of Asia. The exciting beat of Africa. The civility and formality of Europe. All passed down from generation to generation. The definition of language is "a body of words and the systems for their use common to a people who are of the same community or nation, the same geographical area, or the same cultural tradition."(http://hubpages.com/hub/the-value-of-language, hubpage ,2011,,28/04/2011) Language units us, it makes people understand each other but in a distinct way. As my classmate said " we need to hear the sweetness of the Italian, the harmonious flow of Spanish but don't forget any language to the an understanding ear is both." That sentence say it all. Last but definitely not least, culture. Culture is a perfect mold of the above.
What I have explained is only a piece of a gigantic cake but it gives a clear picture to move on to the real question, what was before. Let's take a few countries and see what their belief is related to this topic.
Let's take India for instance. India is one of the ancient civilization and it is known that culture played a vital role in those days. It gave people direction. Not to mention a sense of belonging and awareness. Culture was a way people governed themselves. Their tradition and custom is and was unique. For example the touching of the feet. In India children are supposed to touch their elders feet this shows respect. This is not known to a lot of people but after the explanation we can see how that shows respect. Finally their language. Hindi is what is more or less spoken in India. It is the mother tongue for 40% of Indians. It comes from a form of language called Sanskirt which is one the oldest forms of communication, now isn't that fascinating!
Let's see where this leaves us. They are one of the oldest civilization and did culture, tradition and language play a role? Yes. That answers our question. That is their accomplishments. If we want to know about their history we will be told about these aspects. Is it their identity? Yes. They wear India in their heart, mind and soul. They have their language to prove it, their culture. The way they dress and talk is one of the few examples, that is their own. Is their something before that? I would say no. We call our culture and tradition roots and language seeds. They started first before anything.
Another example Egypt. Ancient Egypt is one of the oldest civilization on earth. Culture at this time had a major role in everyday life. Like India culture was everything. Everything might be considered a vague or an overused word but everything...let's put it this way, the whole planet. A beings existence. Their tradition is quite different. Like not keeping eye contact with people of superiority. Language, well we know, they are known for. Their hieroglyphs. The amazing inscription on pyramid walls and like Hindi it's one of the oldest language so to speak.
When analyzing I want the reader to understand that I am asking who we were before, not what. So I do think that there was nothing before such accomplishments as the pyramids and tombs. I think that there can not be any language historical, defined and complicated as the hieroglyphics. They were Egyptians and are Egyptians.
Let's go North and pick on Greece. Ancient Greek symbolizes so much! Do we forget the Odyssey it is the earliest form of literature but I think it is a window to what was. Do we forget the Greek gods. I even know about their provinces, wars and conspiracy of back in the day and I live half way across the world. All this is part of their culture. The Greek tradition is interesting. It is interwoven with religion. You can say that they are superstitious. That's okay. One interesting tradition is that if somebody talks about misfortunes or bad things the person next to him/her has to spit on them three time. Because they believe spit chases away the devil. Their language in some ways contributed to English. Latin was the most spoken in Greece it also is one of the oldest languages. This language is practiced in important things like the bible.
No matter what I believe there's always answers that are obtained by calculations and doing a great deal of research, what I'm referring to is the scientific side of my story . The part we are approaching now is...you've guessed it, evolution. Evolution like everybody knows is all about "where we came from". But that doesn't matter, I will explain why. We, humans, have been around for millions of years according to scientists. We have evolved from apes. But in the course of this time we have come to understand certain things.
Scientists say we were tribal animals. Since we weren't big or strong enough for our predators we tended to work together to bring our so called enemies down. Knowing this I want to skip ahead. Look at the word tribal...this word means social group and social involves other people in this case what we evolved from. This means we had to have some means of communication, some kind of way of life to get along. So it is only logical to believe tradition, culture and language came after. But I have a question if we c losely watch the birds perched on trees we notice that they make a noise, a cry of some sort and a mile or so away you hear the same type of noise like a reply. Birds make nests for their eggs, ants bring food for their queen. I hope you are seeing where I'm going with this. It is a matter of being. When anything is born it has instinct that is the bases of the above three. But we have intellectually grown that is the big difference but we are beings like everything else. In conclusion I say tradition, culture and language was already there like our lungs, hearts and limbs were there from the beginning.
At this point my opinions wont make a difference. Actually, what I'm going to say is predictable. I'm not going to say it but ask the reader to take these examples into account and read on.
Now we are going to look at this question at a national basis. Ethiopia has it's own identity like any other country but nobody can deny that every country is different. Ethiopia is different in it's own extraordinary way.
Ethiopia's culture is diverse and spread out. This is because of all the ethnic groups, if we talk about numbers Ethiopia has 83 ethnic groups. Culture is hard to say but I can describe it. Our culture is seen through the Axum Obelisk, Lalibela and Gondar. These historical buildings show how we governed ourselves. Even though at that time communication and understanding of the outside world wasn't advanced but we managed to move ourselves forward. Our traditions is rich as Bill Gates. Our traditional clothing.. The cotton dresses which shows the figure of a women perfectly and falls about her majestically. The men draped in snow white cotton fit to be kings. The hair do is worth gawking at. Curly, black hair braided down little girls backs. The music is festive, upbeat and cheering. Our traditions are as strong as they were in the past. Amharic is the main language in Ethiopia but it does have other dialects like those of Tigri speak Tigrinaya and those of the Oromo region speak Affaan Oromo. These languages have been used for many years they helped us to communicate and still do.
It is known that humans originated in Africa. And a couple of years ago,archeologists have discovered the oldest homo-sapien in Ethiopia, she is known as Lucy. I have seen the bones of Lucy with my own eyes, most of my class mates have, we went on a field trip. But nationally tradition is more embedded in peoples minds, culture will always be their belief and religion their source of guidance. This country is more oriented with these things specifically. Any elderly in an Ethiopian family when asked about evolution will instantly repel the question and start talking about the importance of religion.
We as Ethiopian value our culture, tradition and language greatly. It is what we have accomplished for centuries of existence. They are our identity, our record. You might think this a repetition of what I was saying before but I ask you. What is Ethiopia without Lalibela, what is Ethiopia without Lake Tana and the Nile. Who are we without our churches and mosques. We have no identity without our culture and tradition. We are mute without language. Without these we are just there. But our culture runs in our blood, our tradition beats in our heart and language breaths in our lungs... need I say more.
My personal views just repeats what I have been saying through my whole essay. I strongly believe our substance, our mere existence is signified by our culture, tradition and language. Because of these we are able to accomplish and make something of ourselves. My mother taught me to use my language properly and respect my elders. My grandmother taught me how to make "kitifo". My grandfather told me stories about his father and grandfathers. He made me understand that I should in some ways follow their kind,selfless footsteps.
My parents pay good money for me to learn and I am taught in school to consider all aspects of any situation. And evolution strongly contradict what I believe. But it is hard evidence scientists have researched and archeologists have discovered. I wont completely ignore what I learn and find logical but I definitely will not shut out what I believe in. I guess it all comes down to what everybody thinks individually.
My final advice to all this is: We need to make sure that these oh so precious things don't just slip and seep out of our fingertips, we are a part of something and that something is special. To every living breathing human being.
You might say I nagged and pestered but knowing all this let me ask one more question who were we before culture, tradition and language?