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CULTURE vs TRADITIONS

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Very often people confuse culture with traditions. We need to understand that these two terms are not identical. It often may impact people's life in a very different way.

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CULTURE vs TRADITIONS

  1. 1. Kakadjan Haytlyyev
  2. 2. KAKAJAN HAYTLYYEV PAGE 1 Very often people confuse culture with traditions. Sometimes when people gossip about someone's private life they would say that he or she had to do it because it is our culture. They would say it with a shade of approval although it is known that a person in question had to do something against his or her will. When I end up being a bystander of such conversation, I am always surprised that people are not concerned whether the person they gossip about is going to be fine. They are concerned about the established order and appear to be satisfied that a compliance with customs conventions is observed. It made me think what and where does not work if someone's well-being is less important than an approval of a society. I do not think it is acceptable that frequently use the word "culture" justifies circumstances that force a person to do something which he or she would rather not do. Therefore, I started my research with definitions. Definition of culture is the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively. Culture refers to the cumulative deposit of knowledge,
  3. 3. KAKAJAN HAYTLYYEV PAGE 2 experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, spatial relations, material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people during generations. Tradition defined as a long-established custom or belief that has been passed on from one generation to another. According to Reference.com culture and traditions are not the same because tradition is the passing of beliefs from one generation to the next, whereby culture consists of the features that describe a society at any given time. Reference.com also indicates that tradition often remains the same over time but culture changes continuously, even within the same society. It gradually became apparent why people are confused. I noticed that some definitions illustrate tradition as something bigger and constant as compared to ever changing culture. In my view, this is a fundamental mistake that undermines culture and overrates tradition. Although it is correct that nothing remains the same, it does not mean that culture would continuously change. It is appropriate to say that culture would constantly evolve into something better. Culture is something that cultivates, uplifts our spirit. It gives us something positive and something to look forward to. Culture is something which gives hope, provides us with the energy to move forward
  4. 4. KAKAJAN HAYTLYYEV PAGE 3 although we think that we almost have no energy left. A culture of any nation would produce those people who would start doing something so positive which would drive the entire nation to the better future. It is a fundamental force that let people evolve spiritually. However, historical facts show that tradition, not culture, instead of evolving is constantly changing throughout the process of evolution of a society. Facts illustrate that we used to have one set of traditions centuries ago and now we have traditions that are substantially different. For instance, traditions in Europe years ago, were that parents of a boy would have to ask permission of parents of a girl for them to marry. Pre-marital sex was not acceptable whatsoever. Soon to be married at times had never seen each other before the wedding day. However, in our modern world, it is something unthinkable. Unlike tradition, culture contains the same components throughout millenniums - art, literature, architecture, etc. "New" is created, but the "Old" is also celebrated. When we talk about culture, the "New" and the "Old" are not conflicting with each other. Instead, they complement each other. Moreover, in culture, the "New" often is not possible without the "Old". But we cannot say the same about traditions.
  5. 5. KAKAJAN HAYTLYYEV PAGE 4 Therefore, when someone is forced to do something against this person’s will, it has nothing common with the culture. Because forces behind such circumstances would rather push a person down instead of uplifting him or her. It would damage or destroy his or her personality, and take away the hope making the person's life meaningless. It deprives and undermines the person by taking away the right to look forward to any positive future. It will eventually kill that person's dream. We need to understand the difference because it is not right if someone must suffer just because it is perceived by society as the right way of doing things. Tradition is not an objective circumstance and it changes frequently. It shall not be considered as more valuable than someone’s happiness. If we learn how to differentiate culture from tradition, we may also speed up our evolution as a human race. A better understanding will make a real difference for real people by changing their life for better. It will assist us to avoid circumstances when people must follow traditions even if it is against their will.

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