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How long must a practice continue to be considered a tradition?


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As an obedient taxpayer, I defer the answer to the experts at UNESCO's Japan team.

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"Tradere" is a Latin verb meaning "hand over." So it should be at least one generation, surely, for a father to hand over the practice to his son.

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As an obedient taxpayer, I defer the answer to the experts at UNESCO's Japan team.

I thought this was them asking for advice.

But really... it doesn't actually need to be very long. For instance, US presidents voluntarily releasing tax returns has only been happening since the '70s, yet that is now considered a tradition. It's not really something that there is a definitive answer to. Once an activity is accepted as the norm, it is tradition. It could be a year or a generation.

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I don't know the answer, but it is a very good question. The word is very value-laden. I think Wiki's explanation is quite good.

Traditions are often presumed to be ancient, unalterable, and deeply important, though they may sometimes be much less "natural" than is presumed.[9][10] It is presumed that at least two transmissions over three generations are required for a practice, belief or object to be seen as traditional.[8] Some traditions were deliberately invented for one reason or another, often to highlight or enhance the importance of a certain institution.[11] Traditions may also be adapted to suit the needs of the day, and the changes can become accepted as a part of the ancient tradition.[9][12] Tradition changes slowly, with changes from one generation to the next being seen as significant.[13] Thus, those carrying out the traditions will not be consciously aware of the change, and even if a tradition undergoes major changes over many generations, it will be seen as unchanged

As a parallel, an "antique" was traditionally something at least 100 years old, but we increasingly see that word being using very loosely, especially by people trying to make the old thing they are selling sound better.


Just for music, I would say blues or jazz could be referred to as "traditional", rock'n'roll (1950s) is borderline, and pop (mostly 1960s onwards) is still too young. That would roughly agree with the "three generations" in the Wiki explanation above.

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This question is quite subjective. We have a family tradition of a game of cricket on Boxing Day. It’s been our tradition for 40 odd years.

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