Some people regardtradition as a phenomenon that plays an important role in their lives. Onthe other hand, there are those who do not see any significance role oftradition in life. In my point of view, I don’t think tradition hassomething to offer in our lives. In this essay I’m going to discuss boththe 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 Fiestafestival for the towns’ patron saint, the Virgin Del Carmen.
Here, peopleof different traditions unite in one little town to display their selectivetraditional dances. Another example is in the video: Samba Black music ofTwo Worlds. The People gathered and danced in the streets of their village,wearing unique and beautiful costumes. This clearly shows that tradition isthe way of unity among friends and relatives.
Also, it glues them togetherwhich lead them to get to know and understand each other better. Secondly, tradition teaches people to always take care of one another. Inthe novel, Things Fall Apart by Achebe, during the time Okonkwo was inexile, Obierika (who was his best friend), sold his yams and kept the moneyfor him. This indicates that because of their tradition, the two peopletook care of each other. In addition, in the novel Things Fall Apart thecommunity helped each other during ceremonies and at the time Obierika’sdaughter was getting married, the woman of the community helped with thecooking while the men were helping with the slaughtering of animals.
Thisshows that the workload was lightened by the community getting together andall participating. Furthermore, tradition disciplines people according to their differenttraditional customs. In some cultures, if some body does something that isagainst the law of tradition, he or she will be fined or punished. Forexample, Okonkwo, from the novel Things Fall Apart was sentenced to go toexile for 7 years after killing a 16 year old boy. This was against thetraditional law. It was the way of disciplining him; they were teaching himhow to behave in a good manner.
Another advantage of tradition is that it makes people respect theirculture and ancestry. Firstly, in a traditional way, men must be shownrespect by their wives and children, and this is being displayed in thenovel, Things Fall Apart. During ceremonies and gatherings men wererespected, they sat in the comfortable chairs while woman and children weresitting down. Secondly, in The way of tradition, respect is not only shownto men only, it is also shown to the gods. In the film Whale Rider, Koroshowed respect to his traditional custom when he denied Pai to get lessonson how to become a good leader or a chief. He showed respect to histraditional customs.
If he had allowed Pai to get lessons it would showthat he does not respect his traditional rules, as girls were not allowedto become chiefs. Another scene is displayed when Okonkwo from the novelThings Fall Apart built a small house for his personal gods and givesacrifices to show respect. Lastly, in the reading Vedic Chant thetraditional groups Asia subcontinentrespectedandhonouredtheirancestors, spirits and deities by singing traditional songs. The aboveexamples clearly show that where there is tradition there is respect andwhere there is respect there is tradition.
Although in some of theexamples, respect was shown to men only. I think this was oppressive aswomen were dominated by men. Finaly, tradition differentiates people of different cultures or ethnicgroups, and it gives them their identity. The way they behave, itrepresents their culture and tradition. For example, in a reading Trinidad,Calypso and Carnival, Calypso, music is being influenced by differentgenres of traditions.
Bongo dancing was an African influenced dance, peoplemade a circle while others were singing and playing drums. This clearlyshowed their roots, it showed their African identity. Inaddition,traditional costumes in SAdifferentiatedifferenttraditionsandlanguages. In Xhosa tradition, boys who are coming from the initiationschool wear black scarves (khetshemiya) on their heads, but in Shangaantradition they wear red scarves (swincekani) around their waists. Most ofthe boys who wear these kinds of traditional ceremonial clothes feel veryproud.
Going to the initiation shows that they are real men. It is veryeasy to identify who is Xhosa and who is Shangaan. Tradition shows whereyou belong and therefore, it is a sort of identity. When we look at the negative aspects of tradition, it is more oppressive.
In the Aga reading, in Voices of Forgotten Worlds, the youth seem to beannoyed by the huge traditional rules about not allowed to marry peopleoutside their village. Also they were not allowed to behave in anyway thatwas against their tradition, therefore they moved out of the village. Wecan even take a look in the way King Mswati of Swaziland operates in hiscountry. He does not allow young people to marry the girls under 18 yearswhile he does. This is not fair as he is not leading by example and heclaims that it is his tradition to do that. Another example is the novel,Things Fall Apart by Achebe, Okonkwo, intimidated his 1st born son, Nwonyeafter he was converted to be a Christian.
He wanted him to retain histraditional way but Nwonye wanted nothing to do with tradition, because hisfather’s tradition was oppressive to him. Likewise, tradition can be abusive. Most of the children and woman arebeing abused by man nowadays because of tradition. From the novel, ThingsFall Apart, Okonkwo abused his wives. He made them work in the field forthe entire day until sun-set but Because of the tradition they would notvoice their Complaints. In addition, he also added by beating them forminor reasons.
For instance, he beats his second wife for cutting a bananaleaf after she wanted to wrap some fruits. This is an example of howabusive tradition can be. Tradition in some cases takes lives of people unnecessarily. In the video”Samba Black music of Brazil” people gave sacrifices to their god of thesea by throwing their children in the sea with the belief that they werepleasing their gods, and would therefore prosper more. In conclusion, tradition has something to offer to different people in theworld. It teaches them discipline, just like Okonkwo who was punished tostay in exile for seven years after killing a boy.
In the same way,tradition creates coherence among different kinds of people. For example,the Fiesta festival in Paucartambo glued people together. Tradition teachesrespect and it gives people their identity. However, I don’t believe intradition as it oppresses people. For instance, Okonkwo oppressed his sonand wives by abusing them.
Finally, tradition can create deaths and it canmake people to behave in a barbaric way. For example, in the film SambaBlack music of Brazil children was thrown in to the sea as sacrifices.