The Importance Of Tradition Cultural Studies Essay

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When I think about this time of the year, the word tradition comes to mind along with thoughts of my maternal grandmother. My grandmother, like many grandmothers, was a strong supporter of family. She undoubtedly was the glue that held our family together. There were no quarrels or thoughts of indecision about where the holidays would be spent grandmother's house were the place to be for warm words of encouragement, lots of hugs and wonderful home-cooked meals. We were one big happy family that travelled over the highways and the byways to a familiar place called home. Although we now gather at different places with some old and some new faces, it is the tradition of "gathering" that she instilled in us.Tradition is generally defined as long-standing beliefs, practices or customs that have been handed down from one generation to the next. Every culture, every race or group of people have their own rich customs and traditions.

Tradition, according to Giddens, has several key elements. First, it involves some form of ceremonial ritual or ritualistic behaviour. Second, tradition involves a group of people; it's collective and social in nature. Third, traditions have guardians such as historians that have access to the knowledge or the truth of tradition's sacred rituals. Fourth, tradition stirs emotion within individuals to bring about a greater sense of self-awareness. In some cultures, these rituals are important to one's self-identity within the context of a larger society. Sometimes tradition changes from its present form into something else. While Extension, for example, has a long-standing rural tradition, it is expanding into urban environs as farmlands give way to pockets of urban communities. Yet, Extension's true tradition is helping people. In thinking about the importance of tradition, traditions are practiced throughout every civilization known to man. Tradition is family gathering together for feast and fellowship. It is a series of rituals that give it greater value and power. It is kept alive by guardians who shed light on its true essence or its most basic truths. It is comprised of emotion that helps individuals better understand themselves and their relation to society. Extension's true tradition is manifested in that underlying human element ­ service! That is service to individuals, service to families, service to communities, service to society and ultimately, service to the world. Let us hope that this rich tradition never changes, but merely reinvents itself to serve a greater good!

Shils takes a wide view of what tradition is. For him it is anything transmitted or handed down from the past to the present. Material objects (the Iliad, the Parthenon), beliefs, images, practices, institutions, can all be tradita, that is, things handed down. The handing down of them constitutes a tradition. He does demand a certain persistence or recurrence through transmission, because tradition has to be distinguished from mere fashion. (Is it the case that a society where traditions are weakened becomes a prey to fashion?) Shils says that there must be three generations to yield a tradition, although the generations might be no more than the 'generations' of school children at a school.

This wide definition, of course, makes it easier to defend the view that human society cannot function in the absence of traditions. But is there a coherent narrower definition to be found? In any case, the handing on of particular beliefs, practices etc., or constellations of such beliefs and practices, in a recurrent pattern, is something that occurs. What Shils may ask, are such patterns of handing on to be called if not traditions?

Shils distinguishes between substantive traditions and second-order traditions.

"When we talk of self-reliance, self-sufficiency and national identify as the core of our national development, we refer to culture as the fountain spring of all policies whether educational, social, political, medical or economical. Our strategies of national development would therefore depend on the understanding of the culture, the adaptation of its elements for political, educational and economic development as well as its strengths for social integration and development.


How can we preserve culture?

Culture is an important factor in everyone's life. It's the foundation to a prosperous lifetime. In order to keep it alive, doing your part to preserve it is extremely necessary. This article will help you identify and act accordingly to the key factors in preserving your culture.


1.     Language. Speak your mother language. People from your country will respect you. Also, you have a chance of getting a high-paying job because of your language skills, and your parents will be very proud of you. Another benefit of being able to speak your mother language is that when you go outside, nobody will be able to eavesdrop on your private conversation.

2.     Food. It's never too late to whip up some recipes from your mother's cookbook. Bringing your native food home reminds you about where you came from and helps you appreciate those old memories. If you can't find any ethnic recipes in your family's cookbook or the Internet, going to a local ethnic restaurant occasionally is the next best option. It's doesn't have your mother's love in it, but its still culture.

3.     Learn about your Religion. Religion is the most vital key factor in any culture. It brings you inner peace. Going to a mosque, synagogue, church, or temple is a great way to keep your cultural spirit alive. Read your holy book. Try to understand it by buying books with footnotes in them. See how your culture relates to your religion. You will find that they both have a few things in common.

4.     Festivals. Attending your country's national festivals helps you see more of tradition. It also helps you make new friends. If you live in a foreign country, having a gathering with your ethnic community is a fabulous idea.

5.     If you have more than one cultural background, blend some of your ideas and beliefs together. At least you're preserving some of the key factors. There are a lot of rude people out there who'll tell you your ideas are dumb. Don't let that stop you from being who you want to be!

6.     Usually people who abandon their culture have an unpleasant life. Their own people aren't satisfied with them. In other words, people call them a "nobody". That is a very big insult. Like I mentioned earlier, you can keep some ideas you like and blend in some ideas from another culture as well. There's no limit on that. Extreme cultural bias can lead to oppression and violence. Be proud of your culture - but let others be proud of theirs too.