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The Meaning and Concept of Tradition

Christopher F. Bueno is currently the Dean of the College of Education, University of Northern Philippines, Vigan City.


This is the usual general term when we deal with the study of culture. It must be noted that the general explanation of the term tradition is the transition of knowledge, skill and attitude from one generation to the next generation. Based on the definition in the hubpages website:

Tradition as a general term refers to the customs, rituals, belief, folklore, habits in a given ethnic group. When we speak about culture, the usual key concept is still on tradition because of the universality of the concept on the social experiences derive from that community.

The transmission of knowledge, skill and attitude is taken into consideration the oral and written communication as the basis of human action processed by thought, imagination and experiences in the exposure of the human beings. It will lead to the behavioral adaptation in conformance of rules, ritual, custom, values, mores, folkways and other relevant prescription of culture. The inter-related factual information needed in the study of tradition:

1. The human practices that have embedded in their social activities and experiences as to conform the way of life in the ethnic community. The social being provides the social model as transmitted by their parents and families including the society that they live-in. The individual would speak his tradition along his exposure to the social activities and experiences. The language, customs, tradition, mores, and other family life that usual tradition persisted in the community or the ethnic place.

2. The social beliefs of the supernatural order embrace by the conformity of the nature that responds to the appreciation of faith through religion and rituals. The study of tradition reflects the societal belief on the existence of the supernatural order such as god and deity. This common tradition would now reflect by the reflection of geographically located origin of religion such as Catholic, Protestant, Buddhism and Muslim. The existence of the deity and the respect of the ancestor is common to those ethnic groups in some part of Asia and Africa.

3. The human value provides them the mechanism to understand the moral ground of action whether it is right or wrong, ethical and unethical within the bounce of the social experience of the society. The civilized and cultured society has certain set of laws to secure the peace and order for the preservation of life and the society. This is related with religion and norms of a given ethnic race to follow on what is moral and ethical of the human actions. The wrongful and immoral actions are sanctioned by punishment set by the elders or council such as murder, homicide, rape, physical injury, theft and other crimes.

4. The use of distinct language to communicate with the social group as being developed by oral and written form is a traditional communicative process in order to deliver specific message on the human action grounded by culture. The personal information receives in the group interaction defines the language, dialect and means of communication. It is the language exposure that gives the individual particular dialect not by birth or race. It has something to do with the communicative culture that responds a particular tradition.

5. The creation of family through the biological union as a result of love or that forms part the in the ritual and other traditional practices within specific geographical situation that may affect climate, terrain and other natural condition. The geographical race of the Caucasian , Mongolian and Black race have biological implications as to the development of tradition and culture.

In sociology, the common term that can study tradition is the traditional authority which prescribed the influence of the monarch, king and emperor on the beliefs, norms, mores, and the submissive culture of the divine rights, absolute rights and the royal rights. This concept has been part of the cultural process on submission of social rights to abide by the prescribed political powers of the rulers. This is the political prescription of what we call royal blood who has the right and privileges to rule the state based on absolute masculine succession. It has been well in placed in Europe and Asia in the application of the term traditional authority.

The tradition has been socially invented to conform the intellect, thought, imagination, experiences of the social group. It is in this perspective that the concept of tradition is within the realm in the study of culture. These are examples of tradition being studied in culture:

1. In marriage and wedding celebrations that may focus to the preparation and celebration of the couples. It emphasizes the rituals in the wedding celebration, the sacrifices of the natural deity , thanksgiving and other wedding practices to solemnized the union of the couples. The economic and familial security for the provision of dowry after the marriage, There are instances that the elders and parents are bound to follow the fixed marriage as part of their culture .

2. In funeral, there are rituals being done to ensure peaceful way for the spirits of the dead. The deity the rituals of the dead, prayers and the celebration of the afterlife. The social sacrifices and other funeral offerings are the example of our love and care to the dead. The social group intends to provide specific rituals and ceremonies t o ensure the peaceful journey of the spirits and souls of the dead.

3. The celebration of festival, feast and other traditional remembrance of deities, gods and goddesses, ancestors, and other social occasions are common in ethnic groups. They symbolize Thanksgiving, adornment, appeasement and other forms of celebration offerings to promote positive aura in the natural and social order of time in their place.

4. The development of civilization for the complex cultural activities is part and parcel of the development of tradition of literary works, poems, folksongs, story telling including artifacts on arts, sculpture, painting, architectural structure

These are human experiences that are built in the images of traditional beliefs and expression on marriage, funeral, festival and other by product of civilization. The universality of social experiences from the tangible and non-tangible human actions produced the development of tradition as they are molded by the customs, rituals, belief, folklore, habits in a given ethnic group.



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Cisca Aline on November 10, 2014:

Thanks to the author and Hubpages for this article. It is very useful and I wish it could help me for finishing my thesis. One request, if I may ask for, could you post an article about custom, please? Especially for the differences between custom and tradition. Thanks before.

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