Traditions are practices or values that are handed on in a culture because of their symbolic meaning. Throughout the world, diverse cultures adopt and follow a number of rituals that have important significance for them. Specifically, many rituals have been followed for thousands of years without sacrificing their significance. The act of thanksgiving ceremonies stands out as a long-standing event in the United States. About the fact that the first Thanksgiving was held in October 1621, it is still observed by nearly every American family today.
Thus, traditions are significant in that they build strong family ties between different generations, hence creating a sense of belonging.
Reasons for Holding onto Traditions
The art of holding onto traditions is influenced by the honor of the generations that started or celebrated them before. The whole idea becomes like a memory that keeps the modern society connected to the past generations. Also, many traditions tend to stick because of the purposes they serve. For example, the Thanksgiving tradition that is common in the U.S. has been in existence for many centuries. Americans value it to the extent that they hold it on every October. After its inception in 1621, the first Thanksgiving was attended by 53 pilgrims and 90 Native Americans (High 31). The situation has changed tremendously as the celebrations are held by millions of Americans. Precisely, this tradition enables Americans to appreciate the principles that were started by their forefathers. This tradition brings people together, especially families and friends to enjoy some good times. This aspect creates a scenario where people create long-lasting memories for those they share the special moment with.
The activities involved in the American Thanksgiving celebrations explain why many people hold onto it. For example, people engage in feasts, football, and family talks, thereby creating strong social bonds. During Thanksgiving, Americans feast on nutritious foods like turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and sweet potatoes among others. As a tradition, Thanksgiving has made it possible for people to celebrate their achievements in life. As a result, this idea enables Americans to embrace the spirit of gratitude, hence appreciating each other and their God accordingly (Kirkpatrick 22). The main issue is that traditions increase peaceful coexistence among people, thereby building stronger societies. In this case, it is evident that traditions are held onto because of their positive attributes. Thus, the thanksgiving concept will remain to be a significant practice in the American Society in the future.
Role of Traditions
Traditional activities serve the purpose of civilizing the communities involved to embrace each other. The American Thanksgiving practice is one event that people accommodate each other regardless of their differences. This aspect improves the characters of Americans in regards to recognizing and appreciating every person who impacts their lives positively. Traditions stand at the core of every civilization to keep the people aware of their origins. For example, young people celebrated Thanksgiving in November 2017, even though they were not born in 1621 when it was initiated. As such, this tradition connects modern societies with beliefs, practices, and ideologies that were upheld by their ancestors. Tradition instills essential values in a community to enhance its well-being (High 31). To be precise, the Thanksgiving concept creates an environment where no one is left unrecognized. The celebratory aspect also creates a happy environment where people forget about all their problems. Thus, traditions create role models who recognize the importance of celebrating important matters in life.
Self-reliance and Conformity
Tradition is a concept that influences an individual_x0092_s ability to employ either self-reliance or conformity. Self-reliance refers to the idea of someone confiding in their own resources and powers, instead of those of other people. Tradition presents itself as a system that deviates from the self-reliability issue. As an American tradition, Thanksgiving demolishes the self-reliance aspect. This tradition paves the way for the creation of shared identity, while at the same time strengthening family and societal bonds. To be precise, an individual cannot exist on their own without sharing roles and responsibilities with other people. Tradition creates a system where people can come together to share common interests (Chapin 67). The magnitude of happiness and satisfaction that emanates from the Thanksgiving ceremony is achievable when many people are involved. In other words, tradition is not an individual affair. The reason for this aspect is that a tradition like Thanksgiving could have gone extinct if it was practiced as a one person_x0092_s affair. Its ability to thrive through centuries is influenced by the involvement of different generations that pass it onwards. The main issue is that tradition creates a sense of togetherness because it explores the values upheld in a particular society (Chapin 69). The culture of thanksgiving in America continues to flourish, an indication that future generations will still practice it with ease.
American traditions help eliminate all the adverse effects of self-reliance. For example, this ideology implies that people should live on their own without interacting with the rest of the society. Also, it hinders people from working together with the rest of the society, hence creating more challenges. American traditions enable people to unite with the rest of the society, thereby accomplishing their life goals and objectives with ease (Chapin 72). Thanksgiving celebrations unite people to the extent of bringing enabling strangers to appreciate each other. Thus, self-reliant individuals are unable to practice tradition accordingly. This aspect implies that societal unity makes it easy to accomplish specific goals (Kirkpatrick 45). Also, the elimination of self-reliability paves the way for the formation of social identities that are of great significance.
Unlike in self-reliance, tradition promotes conformity due to its benefits to society. The American Society showcases a high conformity to various traditions based on their essence in the people_x0092_s lives. Conformity is the idea of matching beliefs, beliefs, and attitudes to societal norms. Thanksgiving in the U.S. enhances compliance in that it encompasses millions of participants who believe and value it. Most Americans cannot skip Thanksgiving without engaging in the subject activities involved. In this case, conformity portrays a tremendous difference from self-reliance since it accommodates many people (Schwartz 16). On a broader perspective, tradition encourages unity through conformity, while those who apply self-reliance risk facing social rejection. Annually, 4th of November is marked as a national holiday in the U.S. to allow all people to undertake their Thanksgiving without any hindrances. This idea creates the impression that tradition gives Americans adequate room to practice their beliefs and values collectively, but not individually.
Tradition focuses on enhancing social bonds between families, friends, relatives, neighbors, and the nation as a whole. Traditions pressurize every individual to provide harmony between them and the entire community. The conformity aspect arises because the vast majority of people in a society holds similar ideologies and values regarding a specific tradition. In such a setup, it would be difficult for anyone to apply self-reliance. Due to this aspect, people continue conforming to a traditional practice that they never participated in its initiation. For instance, participating in Thanksgiving, a practice that started in 1621 portrays the power of conformity. Tradition succeeds in avoiding self-reliance in pursuit of conformity because humans are social beings that live in groups. Also, people do not choose the cultures they get born in, hence the need for them to conform. Many traditions from around the world have been in existence for long due to conformity (Schwartz 33). Based on these aspects, tradition should be appreciated since it stabilizes a society_x0092_s beliefs and values, thereby enabling future generations to adopt it. Thus, the American Thanksgiving culture unifies the society through conformity to show gratitude for their progress in life. Every child grows knowing that it is important to give thanks, thereby conforming entirely to the tradition.
Tradition refers to the idea of transmitting customs from one generation to the other. The U.S. has many traditions that unite people to the extent of giving them a social identity. Thanksgiving is a common tradition in the U.S. that is held on every November. People eat special foods while bonding with their friends and families to enjoy their achievements. Tradition achieves this by eliminating the aspect of self-reliance and replacing it with conformity. Due to conformity, Americans continue to enjoy Thanksgiving even though it is a tradition that was started in 1621. Thus, traditions are important because they enhance togetherness, hence influencing societal growth and values.
Chapin, F. Stuart, et al. “Community-empowered adaptation for self-reliance.” Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 19 (2016): 67-75.
High, Jessica. “America’s day of thanksgiving: History, ideology and nationalism in the creation of popular myth.” Teaching History 48.3 (2014): 31.
Kirkpatrick, Melanie. Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience. , 2016. Print.
Schwartz, Shalom. “Value priorities and behavior: Applying.” The psychology of values: The Ontario symposium. Vol. 8. 2013.
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