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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?

Greta Sun 14-Oct-18 14:37:41

I do believe traditions matter. They provide structure which I think we need. I don't like Christmas starting at the end of August but I'm sure we all know how this has come about: Money. Also, it seems to me that whatever we do nowadays it must be fun and noisy, sometimes bordering on the hysterical. And of course, we must have what we want and we must have it now.

We are approaching All Hallows' Eve. I really like the way families in Sweden mark this by going to their cemeteries and lighting candles for their loved ones. A time to quietly reflect and remember.

This is worth watching:

Bridgeit Sun 14-Oct-18 17:42:31

I think Life would be very dull without all the occasions , festivals & traditions, they bring people together & children learn about all the different & varied cultures etc with open minds

Marianne1953 Sun 14-Oct-18 17:59:03

No it doesn’t matter and a lot of people don’t care if they eat hot cross buns etc all year round, however, if they are eaten all year round, then they are not special anymore and to me that’s part of the excitement of these occasions is having things you don’t eat etc all year round.

Bridgeit Sun 14-Oct-18 18:06:10

Yes good point Marianne1953, there is nothing quite like a special treat.

MagicWriter2016 Sun 14-Oct-18 18:50:46

I think they do matter as they are part of our history, but I do hate the fact that they have mainly been reduced to commercialism. As a child we were very poor, but each of the occasions was looked upon with real excitement, not just because you wanted new toys or loads of Easter eggs. They always signified something, even though we were never religious. Easter was exciting as you would usually get a new frock or some sort of clothing and it meant that summer was just round the corner. You got to paint eggs and take them to roll down the nearest hill. I honestly don’t remember getting any chocolate Easter eggs, but am sure we did. May was the maypole dancing. Guy Fawkes nice was a chance to go out ‘begging’ for a penny for the guy then a bonfire if you were lucky with hot dogs and cups of hot soup. We never really had fireworks, although the boys always seemed to manage to get hold of a few bangers or Chinese crackers to scare us all with. Halloween wasn’t really celebrated then. Christmas was when you got tangerines, the smell,of them warmed your heart. We would all get one ‘big’ present, I remember getting a big tin of paints and colouring pencils, I was so happy. But the big thing was we all sat down for a Xmas dinner. We could only afford a big chicken, it wasn’t considered an everyday meat then and you had to have a homemade Xmas pudding with a three penny coin hidden in it. New Years Eve was more for the grown ups. But the beauty of all these ‘customs’ were, they were never spoken about until a couple of weeks or so before the occasion so the excitement had a little time to build up. I feel so sorry for kids today, especially at Xmas time. They start seeing things in the shops by Aug/Sept, Santa appears before November sometimes and the wait to get their pressies must feel like forever. And don’t even start me on the amount of stuff they get, and you can bet, within a few days they will be bored! So, yes, I am saddened that we no longer celebrate our customs and traditions as we once did.

HillyN Sun 14-Oct-18 19:02:00

I thought Guy Fawkes Night was supposed to celebrate the fact that the plot failed.
I think it spoils the 'treat' of chocolate eggs, hot cross buns etc to have them all year round but wouldn't want to limit them to just one day. Why can't spiced buns without crosses on be available the rest of the year?
As for mince pies, my Gran always said that you would have one lucky day in the following year for every different person's make of mince pie that you ate around Christmas. She would visit friends and family just to get as many as possible. Now there's a custom I could enjoy... grin

Blinko Sun 14-Oct-18 19:34:22

That's a lovely custom, Greta. Thank you.

Re alternative uses for failed bakes, the family remind me often of scones so hard that the birds investigated but couldn't break into. It was suggested they be donated to the local clay pigeon club for target practice.

notanan2 Sun 14-Oct-18 20:13:32

I think it is important to mark the seasons. It reminds us weird humans who live detatched from the rest of nature to notice the earth's natural waxes and wanes.

How we do so has always been in a constant state of flux, but it is IMO important to do it.

Jalima1108 Sun 14-Oct-18 20:15:49

I think it's important too notanan but to me, marking autumn is celebrating 'Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness' ie a Harvest Festival or a celebration, if not religious, of all the bounty that the Earth has to offer us.

PECS Sun 14-Oct-18 22:08:17

Interesting to hear others' views on Easter being dull! We always painted/decorated hard boiled eggs, made special (Middle Eastern & British) Easter cakes (some featured recently on GBBO!) Always Hot X buns on Good Friday and had Easter Cakes and hard boiled eggs for breakfast (after the competition for the 'strongest' egg!) having hunted for them in the garden first!
When I spent Easter with cousins we had to go to 'meeting' in the morning which was a bit dreary but always had the excitement of a chocolate egg to open after lunch!

Mapleleaf Sun 14-Oct-18 22:11:20

I haven't read all the the threads to the end, so someone else might already have said, but simnel cake, although a tradition of Easter, is also traditional for Mothering Sunday. It harks back to when daughters were in service and were allowed home on Mothering Sunday and took a simnel cake home with them as a gift for their mother, if memory serves me right. Someone might be along soon to either correct me or agree. 😁

notanan2 Sun 14-Oct-18 22:17:38

Easter is my least favourite although we do "do" it.

It feels less creative and less social to me. Other than that it is all a bit tame.

A lot of it is about stodgy food which I dont really like. Maybe Easter is more fun if you are a keen baker. LOVE the creativity and social side of both Christmas and Halloween. A lot of people go abroad at Easter so unless you are specifically on holiday with friends it can be hard to arrange anything.

PECS Sun 14-Oct-18 22:32:20

Perhaps the combination of Middle Eastern and NE English traditions makes it seen it was livelier in our family! grin

Jalima1108 Sun 14-Oct-18 22:52:02

We had pink boiled eggs for breakfast when I was a child - Mum used cochineal
I always used to make a Simnel cake but several in the family don't like marzipan so it ended up on my waistline. Yes, it was originally for Mothering Sunday.

However, the DGC still have Easter egg hunts, round the garden if the weather is fine.

Margs Mon 15-Oct-18 11:18:26

Well, in the USA it seems that Thanksgiving Day overtakes all other traditional celebration days.

Even Christmas. Absolutely amazing! (and I think that when the President 'reprieves' the turkey that the White House is supposedly having for dinner then he should do it for all the other birds as well!)

M0nica Mon 15-Oct-18 13:21:43

Cultural traditions have always evolved, we do not burn witches any longer or dance around Maypoles, except in a slightly self-conscious, 'Look I am maintaining an old cultural tradition' way. Culture cannot be frozen like a mammoth in an ice cap.

Some changes we may embrace, others we may deplore, but either way there is little we can do to hold them back or drive them forward.

My Christmas decs go up when it is convenient for me and taken down likewise. If some want the fairy lights up in November, well, that is their choice. Just chill.

lemongrove Mon 15-Oct-18 13:27:04

Lovely post MagicWriter 👍🏻😃

lemongrove Mon 15-Oct-18 13:30:07

Why Monica you old hippy you grin
Yes, it’s now a tradition to get bladdered every Saturday night, followed by kebab eating and what comes soon after
🤢 ( for quite a lot of people.)

PECS Mon 15-Oct-18 14:53:14

I agree M0nica everything evolves & it is usually futile to attempt to stop it!
Whilst burning / drowning women thought to be witches was common practice I am not sure I would class it as a cultural tradition.. it was a type of hideous punishment common in many countries.

Do you think some "evolution" is manipulated or contollable? I'm thinking of international concern re plastics/ climate etc. I know off track from ' cultural tradition' but is it futile to try to slow climate change by changing our established habits?

M0nica Mon 15-Oct-18 16:40:45

Neither the problem of plastics, nor global warning can be described as a'cultural tradition. They are issues that our current age has to deal with, and society has always dealt with issues that are a practical threat to people's lives. In the early medieval citizens were banned from roofing town houses with thatch and the distance between houses in towns was stipulated reduce fire risk, to reducing emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere today. Those are quite separate issues from culture and tradition and work in an entirely different way.

Culture and tradition is merely the way our grandparents did things and we change them, until we become grandparents in our own lives, our grandchildren reject the culture and tradition of centuries, or more likely about 50 years and establish their own culture and traditions and so on and so on..

Blinko Mon 15-Oct-18 17:55:06

I think that witches were hanged, heretics were burnt. Poor victims, all of them.

PECS Tue 16-Oct-18 09:29:38

I suppose my point, poorly made, was that our now cultural reliance on petroleum and our cultural disposable lifestyle is contributing to a sppeded up evolution..we could slow it down.

BBbevan Tue 16-Oct-18 09:45:04

We always decorated eggs to boil for Easter Sunday breakfast. Since my dad was bald they always had glasses and looked vaguely like him

maytime2 Sat 03-Nov-18 14:15:34

Apologies for adding my thoughts on this subject a bit later than anyone else.
A custom that has died down in this part of South West Wales is the welcoming of the New Year by children singing outside each house and being given money by the Householder. We usually had a penny, or if lucky thruppence, from each house. This money was called "Calennig" in Welsh, the song that was sung was also in Welsh. We would also have a cake from the Baker and an orange from the Grocer. This took place on New Years morning and it all finished by 12 noon.
It is such a shame that it has died, but I suppose we do not encourage children to knock on strangers' houses these days.