Gransnet forums


Is cultural tradition overrated?

(75 Posts)
PECS Sat 13-Oct-18 13:34:25

Sometimes I have heard people voice their worries that "we" are losing "our" culture and traditions.

I was just wondering if it matters. My thinking was sparked by discussion elsewhere about Christmas decorations.

Traditionally the Christmas festival is 12 days, Easter 4 days then there are various other festivals: Patron Saints days, May day, All Hallows Eve & All Saints Day and various associated customs and activities etc.

Many were originally pagan (e.g. Wassialing/Carol singing), adopted by Christianity and now taken over by the commercial world.

Traditional music and dance seem to have lost a place in everyday life.. but does it matter?

Does it matter that hot x buns are eaten all year round? That Christmas pudding is ditched in favour of a swiss roll and ice cream? That hallowe'en has become overly focussed on trick or treating (guising) and Maypole dancing is now frowned upon now we realise a Maypole was phallic [grin}

Locally we have Morris dancing, mummers, town bonfire & processions, Carol Service and switching on of town Christmas lights so I don't feel bereft! But what do others think? Is cultural tradition overated?

lovebeigecardigans1955 Sun 14-Oct-18 09:41:15

If we ate hot cross buns, roast turkey and mince pies all year round then they're not special anymore, are they?
Are we perhaps more self-indulgent these days and can't wait for things anymore? The 'I want it now' syndrome perhaps?

4allweknow Sun 14-Oct-18 09:43:24

Guy Fawkes, should that be added to culture, tradition? When looking at the history of this celebration I cringe at us celebrating an attempted murder. Why people of Scotland acknowledge the event I'll never know as their King was the target. I lived in London in 70s and even then the bakers only produced HXB on Good Friday. It's the profit motive that is diluting culture and traditions by extending the length of the celebration, we are fed up by the time the actual particular event arrives.

mokryna Sun 14-Oct-18 09:43:39

When did Trick and Treating start in England, I have been away so long? Has Guy Fawkes been overtaken by it?

PECS Sun 14-Oct-18 09:45:09

oldbatty yes of course culture evolves.. what I am asking is does it matter if "traditions' based on cultural heritage are lost or diluted? Do we need them? I am genuinely asking!

oldbatty Sun 14-Oct-18 09:46:14

mmm thought provoking stuff indeed.

sarahellenwhitney Sun 14-Oct-18 10:06:48

As, which my friend hmmcalls me. a miserable old git who refuses to break with tradition, I get no pleasure in eating hot cross buns, simnel cake other than at Easter or mince pies at xmas I have many happy memories of Easter Sunday tea at my grandmothers with toasted hot cross buns followed by slices of simnel cake and visiting relatives at xmas where we indulged in hot mince pies and glasses of ginger wine.The latter I was allowed the occasional sip.

Anniebach Sun 14-Oct-18 10:10:58

Christian festivals mean much to me , hot cross buns , Easter eggs, Christmas trees are not the centre of these festivals, but they are links with those who have gone before us.

starbox Sun 14-Oct-18 10:18:53

I don't suppose it MATTERS in the grand scheme of things - you could live an entirely adequate life with no festivals etc at all. Just like it doesn't MATTER if a language dies out; or if a certain obscure animal becomes extinct.
But I do think it's a shame and a loss of human heritage. There IS something quaint, magical, historical about Morris Dancers, maypoles etc. Just like we love experiencing the strange celebrations in exotic countries!

Barmeyoldbat Sun 14-Oct-18 10:39:11

I went to a children's Christmas Service with gc and they sang songs like The Camels got a Hump! Wasn't impressed so didn't go again. I enjoy the different festivals but not the massive lead up to them and I so glad that Easter is now more of a holiday than the gloom and doom it was. Everywhere closed, dad in his chair smoking his pipe and mum going up the wall with 4 bored children.

pixie601 Sun 14-Oct-18 10:41:55

The reason our cultural traditions seem to spread too far is purely and simply to make money, If we only bought and celebrated within the season itself maybe it would slow things down - the answer is in the hands of the consumer.

Jalima1108 Sun 14-Oct-18 10:46:56

I hate the extension of some festivals because ,for me, it diminishes them.
The same thing seems to have happened with other 'celebrations' such as hen/stag parties, birthdays etc - they extend over weekends, particularly with the younger generations.
ie 'it's his birthday weekend' which is apparently from Friday until Monday! confused - no, his 'birthday' is on Saturday.

Hm999 Sun 14-Oct-18 10:48:57

I love the idea that children today do the things my grandparents did when small (like carols and pancakes), but there are bits I dislike. Eating the big Easter eggs before Easter Sunday is one, and those Advent calendars with chocolate or little presents inside. Because of technology, if ever there was a generation that need to be taught a little patience... I suppose I want the children to know the stories behind the traditions, both national and international.

knickas63 Sun 14-Oct-18 10:52:08

I think they are very important and part of who we are. A lot of our tradions are seasonal, as well as religious. I tried to keep them up with my kids, and now with the grandchildren. Things were only eaten a certain times due to seasonal availability, and in this over commercials, eco,logically compromised world it isn't a bad thing to encourage.

knickas63 Sun 14-Oct-18 11:02:37

We do always try to find firework displays on or as near to Nov 5th as possible. This particular tradition is definitely being faded into Halloween. We do both! I have always celebrated Halloween with Swede carving (No pumpkins when I was small) lanterns and ghost stories. It is now one of my family favourites. Halloween party at ours every year. Bonfire night if not at a display, we have a bonfire, small garden fireworks, soup, jacket potatoes and hot dogs. Always with memories of my father, a biscuit tin of fireworks, leaning in to get one with a few in his mouth!

mabon1 Sun 14-Oct-18 11:02:56

They are part of our Welsh, English, Scotish and Irish way of life and certainly worth keeping.

knickas63 Sun 14-Oct-18 11:04:48

*fag in is mouth! Damn autocorrect

youngagain Sun 14-Oct-18 11:23:30

Does anyone remember Halloween as being 'ducking apple night'? I was brought up in South Wales and we used to have a bowl of water with apples in and we had to 'catch' an apple with our mouth/teeth and our hands had to be behind our backs. We also had apples suspended on string from the tops of doorways and again, with hands behind our backs, we had to catch the apple in our teeth/mouth. We didn't have 'trick or treat' and actually had never heard of it when we were kids. When did this become the norm in the UK?

Anniebach Sun 14-Oct-18 11:26:47

I so remember ‘ducking Apple night’ loved it. Not when the apple on the string swung back and hit me though

BBbevan Sun 14-Oct-18 11:40:09

Yes I remember ' ducking apple' We had toffee apples to eat also

icanhandthemback Sun 14-Oct-18 12:02:57

Jalima1108, a woman after my own heart. My DH has always talked about his Birthday week which I have strongly resisted especially as he seems to change when the week begins or ends so we could easily end up as a Birthday Fortnight. Occasionally though, I use the Birthday Week to my own ends...but only when it is my Birthday!
I prefer traditions to remain undiluted. It makes them far more special. One of the sad things I think about the EU is that many of the places we used to visit gave us an exciting array of food to try or goods to ogle but, apart from them selling things in different sorts of shops, nothing is novel any more.

ajanela Sun 14-Oct-18 12:09:57

I thought Halloween was promoted as guy fawkes night caused so many nasty accidents due to fireworks and bonfires.

Yes we need to celebrate special days but we need to know the meaning behind the day.

Ireland, Wales and Scotland celebrate there days and I think England needs to celebrate St George's day.

It seems to be very popular to celebrate this Queens special anniversaries which is lovely,

Will we be celebrating Brexit day?

Legs55 Sun 14-Oct-18 12:17:57

I remember shops being shut Good Friday except our lovely Baker's (this was in the late 70s/early 80s), had to either order or get in there early for Hot Cross Buns, I still don't have them until Good Friday & I adore them .

Halloween was a huge tradition as I lived near to Pendle Hill & all the links to the Lancashire Witches - no trick or treat but often parties with apple bobbing etc

November 4th was Mischief Night, small usually harmless pranks followed by Bonfire Night on 5th November.

Christmas starts no earlier than 1st December (except cards are written ready for posting) despite delicious Mince Pies in the shops now

Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day, always make pancakes on the day

Brings us back to Easter. I love keeping to the traditions but also willing to embrace other cultural traditions

gerry86 Sun 14-Oct-18 13:44:49

I think shops are a lot to blame, as soon as Christmas is over there are Easter Eggs on the shelves with valentine's day squeezed in between and it goes on from there.

jocork Sun 14-Oct-18 13:45:14

I live in a very multicultural town so there seems to always be some festival or other going on. When we first moved here from a very 'English' market town I couldn't believe how often there were firework displays going on. Consequently I think some of our festivals and traditions disappear in the confusion of all the other celebrations. As for only eating certain foods at the 'correct' time of year, if we did that we'd never get mince pies on Christmas day as it is illegal to eat them that day due to an ancient law from Oliver Cromwell's time which has never been repealed - although some people dispute this! Personally I love mince pies and often eat them at the wrong time if they are available, as I do to a lesser extent with hot x buns. My ex H loved Christmas pudding so much that I always filled the larder with them whenever they were available, especially if reduced after the festivities, so we could have Christmas pudding for Sunday lunch for most of the year! Nowadays I only eat it on Christmas day and maybe boxing day if there are leftovers.

tickingbird Sun 14-Oct-18 14:31:54

I must admit i abhor trick or treat as it is blackmail and i just dread it. Other traditions i love although Christmas has become so commercialised it’s ruined it really.