Difference between culture and tradition

culture and tradition

Human life consists of ritual actions, which we carry out out of habit – without thinking about their true meaning. Celebrating the New Year and the birthday, the wish of good morning and night, the rules of behavior – where did all this come from and why? Who said that a black cat brings failure, and the free space in transport must necessarily give way to the elderly? Of course, the presence of a large number of signs and rituals is associated with the existence of traditions and customs. What is the difference between these concepts, or do they designate the same habits?

Traditions are a complex of ritual actions, which includes rituals, daily actions, rules of behavior in society, passed from generation to generation for a long period of time. The main difference of this phenomenon is its universality and universality, territorial (national) binding. Traditions do not belong to anyone, they can either be respected or ignored.

Customs is an action rooted in the public consciousness and repeated over and over again. They also include rules that have been formed in a certain field of activity (sports, politics, economics). Custom can be legal, religious, cultural, and in certain cases – compulsory. For the refusal of execution, there are public sanctions (censure, ostracism, coercion).

Thus, custom and tradition are practically equivalent concepts, and the distinction between them depends on the interpretation of definitions. Nevertheless, with careful analysis, you can see some features. Traditions, for example, are deep customs that have been formed over several generations and have become part of culture. At the same time, this in no way concerns the scope of concepts. Customs is wider, as they cover most of human life. Traditions can be both professional and family, which depends on the lifestyle of a relatively small group of people.

Both customs and traditions are supported by the broad masses of the people and are approved by them. This is a kind of vent, where every person can feel a connection with their ancestors, a union with their loved ones. So, the tradition of meeting guests with bread and salt demonstrates the cordiality of the people. The custom – to sit in front of a long road, helps to gather your thoughts and relax a little.

It is worth noting that people’s habits seriously impede the development of society and in a critical situation can be not only useless, but also harmful. Deep traditions testify to the culture of the people, its long life and development. Customs demonstrates respect for the ancestors, the legacy that they gave to their descendants.



  1. The scope of the concept. Custom is a phenomenon broader than tradition. It’s very easy to follow through on specific examples. Customs can be folk, tribal, territorial, and traditions – family, personal, professional.
  2. Level. If custom is just a habit that repeats itself automatically, the tradition is the direction of activity, more complex and multifaceted.
  3. Rooting in the mind. Custom, as a rule, is less prolonged than tradition. This is due to the depth of mastering this habit. Passing from generation to generation, custom becomes a tradition.
  4.  The observance of traditions is mainly aimed at informing the masses. Custom is first and foremost an active action that pursues a specific goal, initially – a practical one
  5. Change in time . Customs changes over time, pursuing fashion trends and do not make any special sense. In the primitive communal system, customs acted as a moral law. They depend on the opinion of society, how you can do it, and how you can. Traditions do not change in time.

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