A-Z Popular Blog Culture Search »
Culture Change

Culture Characteristics

American Culture

Cultural Rights

Food Culture

Role Of Culture

Social Culture

Traditional Values

Cultural Diffusion

Cultural Symbols


Modern Culture

21 Examples of Tradition

Traditions are elements of society, culture and family that are transmitted from one generation to the next. This can function as a means to transfer knowledge, provide stability and create a sense of belonging and common experience amongst a group. Traditions may be hundreds or even thousands of years old but tend to change a little with each generation. People may also establish new traditions with the hope that they survive into the future. The following are common types of tradition.


A traditional story that is retold by successive generations to relay culture or knowledge. It is a common fallacy to assume that a story that isn't true can't convey valuable knowledge. Myths that survive time usually have some embedded lesson or convey the character of a culture.


Traditional storytelling that is factual or that admits to being fictional.


Language changes with time but is also very much a connection with the past that is transferred from generation to generation. This is viewed as a particularly critical element of a culture such that a culture can perish if language isn't successfully transferred to a generation.


Traditional sayings and idioms that convey knowledge, often resembling philosophy. For example, the Japanese 一期一会 or ichigo ichie, translated "one life, one encounter." This is roughly equivalent to the English "sometimes you only get one chance."


Traditional norms such as maintaining eye contact in social situations.


Precise norms that relate to politeness. For example, a conductor of an orchestra bows at the end of a performance and the audience and orchestra clap. The orchestra typically does this using their instrument as their hands aren't free. The conductor then asks the orchestra to stand so that the audience can applaud the musicians. The conductor may first single out several soloists before asking the entire orchestra to stand. If an orchestra has great reverence for a conductor they will refuse to stand to show their respect. Some conductors have been known to fake this by not asking the orchestra to stand and instead taking a few extra bows. Alternatively, a conductor may countersignal by asking the entire orchestra to stand before taking a bow. This shows that he or she is humble and inclusive and is becoming a more common practice.


Social systems that have survived many generations are typically viewed as traditional such as a traditional system of government, society or law.


Traditional authority are powers that are granted by precedent as opposed to merit. This may be done to produce group harmony by removing competition for power.


Traditional roles based on gender, age and other factors such as family. This may be done to achieve the efficiency of specialization and to provide group harmony. For example, the Maasai people of southern Kenya and northern Tanzania traditionally assign house building to women and raising livestock to men.


Traditional beliefs are beliefs that are handed down from the past. These may guide modern thinking or may be valued as an element of culture. For example, kami is a Japanese Shinto concept that can be translated "spirit." Traditionally, all things are viewed as having a spirit including rocks, places, animals, plants and forces of nature. Generally speaking, people only become kami upon death. This is a foundational belief that is appreciated as a cornerstone of Japanese culture, thought, ceremony and celebration such the Japanese festival tradition of carrying mikoshi that are believed to house local kami. These often weight several thousand pounds and require teamwork and endurance to carry.


A ritual is an activity that is performed with diligence and reverence because it has meaning to participants. For example, a Christian baptism is a ceremony of acceptance into the faith that involves sprinkling water onto a person's forehead or immersion in water, symbolizing purification and renewal.


Rules that aren't codified into a system of regulations or laws that are based on historical precedent and practice. For example, a family that maintains that swimming after eating is dangerous such that you must wait at least 30 minutes. In some cases, traditional rules are maintained for their charm as opposed to their logic.


Accepted ways of doing things. This can be efficient as it tends to create more uniform and predictable results. For example, the long standing software development convention of initializing variables to 0. Due to this convention, most software developers will understand this inside joke:
A married programmer stayed up until 3 AM coding and then finally went to bed. Upon entering the bedroom, their spouse asked, what is more important to you ... me or your work? The programmer replied, you are number one.

Rite of Passage

A ritual, ceremony or celebration to mark an individuals acceptance into a new social status or group. This includes celebrations for milestones of childhood, coming of age, graduation, weddings, initiation into a group and retirement.


The traditional recreation of a nation, city, culture or family. For example, the Japanese tradition of flying kites on New Years Day.


Celebrated holidays such as Christmas or Día de Muertos.


Traditions related to the production, preparation and appreciation of food. Food traditions gain respect over time such that a traditional meal is typically viewed as far higher value than an innovative food item such as a convenience food.


The traditional economy such as a barn raising whereby neighbors make a social gathering of helping a member of the community construct a barn.


Traditions of manufacturing, production and creativity such as the totem poles produced by hand by the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest.


Fashion is known for its fast rate of change as styles come and go by the season. Traditional fashion typically plays a role as formal wear, professional wear such as uniforms and in ceremony. For example, Japanese kimono are formal wear that are often used in ceremony such as tea ceremony or Shinto weddings. They are also famously worn by Geisha or Geiko, a type of traditional Japanese performer.


A lifestyle is a way of living. As with fashion, lifestyles tend to change with each generation. However, some peoples maintain a traditional lifestyle that hasn't changed for centuries or longer. It is also common for people with a modern lifestyle to incorporate traditional elements. For example, practicing a traditional martial art such as tai chi.
Overview: Traditions
Elements of society, culture and family that are transmitted from one generation to the next.
Related Concepts


This is the complete list of articles we have written about traditions.
Family Traditions
School Traditions
Traditional Knowledge
Traditional Society
Traditional Technology
Traditional Values
Try our search:

If you enjoyed this page, please consider bookmarking Simplicable.


The definition of society with examples.

Social Status

The common types of social status.


The definition of norms with examples.


An overview of anomie, also known as normlessness.

Power Distance

An overview of power distance with examples.


The definition of decorum with examples.


The definition of rule with examples.

Intangible Things

The definition of intangible with examples.

Reverse Culture Shock

An overview of reverse culture shock with examples.


An overview of culture.

Strong Culture vs Weak Culture

The difference between strong culture and weak culture with examples.

Generation X

An overview of Generation X.

High Culture

The definition of high culture with examples.

Radical Chic

The definition of radical chic with examples.

Modern vs Contemporary

The difference between modern and contemporary as it applies to ideas, art, architecture, literature and other works.


A complete overview of personification with examples.
The most popular articles on Simplicable in the past day.

New Articles

Recent posts or updates on Simplicable.
Site Map