THE ROLE OF TRADITION IN PEOPLE’S LIVES


Different people have different views on tradition. Some people regard tradition as a phenomenon that plays an important role in their lives. On the other hand, there are those who do not see any significance role of tradition in life. In my point of view, I don’t think tradition has something to offer in our lives. In this essay I’m going to discuss both the positive and the negative aspects of tradition.


In a positive manner, tradition creates unity among people. In the reading, Music in Latin America, the Andean town of Paucartambo hosts the Fiesta festival for the towns’ patron saint, the Virgin Del Carmen. Here, people of different traditions unite in one little town to display their selective traditional dances. Another example is in the video: Samba Black music of Two Worlds. The People gathered and danced in the streets of their village, wearing unique and beautiful costumes. This clearly shows that tradition is the way of unity among friends and relatives. Also, it glues them together which lead them to get to know and understand each other better.


Secondly, tradition teaches people to always take care of one another. In the novel, Things Fall Apart by Achebe, during the time Okonkwo was in exile, Obierika (who was his best friend), sold his yams and kept the money for him. This indicates that because of their tradition, the two people took care of each other. In addition, in the novel Things Fall Apart the community helped each other during ceremonies and at the time Obierika’s daughter was getting married, the woman of the community helped with the cooking while the men were helping with the slaughtering of animals. This shows that the workload was lightened by the community getting together and all participating.


Furthermore, tradition disciplines people according to their different traditional customs. In some cultures, if some body does something that is against the law of tradition, he or she will be fined or punished. For example, Okonkwo, from the novel Things Fall Apart was sentenced to go to exile for 7 years after killing a 16 year old boy. This was against the traditional law. It was the way of disciplining him; they were teaching him how to behave in a good manner.


Another advantage of tradition is that it makes people respect their culture and ancestry. Firstly, in a traditional way, men must be shown respect by their wives and children, and this is being displayed in the novel, Things Fall Apart. During ceremonies and gatherings men were respected, they sat in the comfortable chairs while woman and children were sitting down. Secondly, in The way of tradition, respect is not only shown to men only, it is also shown to the gods. In the film Whale Rider, Koro showed respect to his traditional custom when he denied Pai to get lessons on how to become a good leader or a chief. He showed respect to his traditional customs. If he had allowed Pai to get lessons it would show that he does not respect his traditional rules, as girls were not allowed to become chiefs. Another scene is displayed when Okonkwo from the novel Things Fall Apart built a small house for his personal gods and give sacrifices to show respect. Lastly, in the reading Vedic Chant the traditional groups Asia subcontinent respected and honoured their ancestors, spirits and deities by singing traditional songs. The above examples clearly show that where there is tradition there is respect and where there is respect there is tradition. Although in some of the examples, respect was shown to men only. I think this was oppressive as women were dominated by men.


Finaly, tradition differentiates people of different cultures or ethnic groups, and it gives them their identity. The way they behave, it represents their culture and tradition. For example, in a reading Trinidad, Calypso and Carnival, Calypso, music is being influenced by different genres of traditions. Bongo dancing was an African influenced dance, people made a circle while others were singing and playing drums. This clearly showed their roots, it showed their African identity. In addition, traditional costumes in SA differentiate different traditions and languages. In Xhosa tradition, boys who are