Tradition vs. Secularization

It is very interesting how tradition changes over time around the world. Considering traditions in the United States, most holidays do not have any real meaning for most people past a day off work and time to spend with family and friends. Typically, traditions in the United States are ritualistic without meaning—For example, during the biggest U.S. holiday of Christmas, most people celebrate with gift-giving, Christmas music, a tree, and stockings. However, despite the Christian traditional background of the holiday, most people have no idea about why it’s celebrated and many people do not even celebrate any of the religious aspects of the holiday. I could not explain anything religious about the holiday despite my religious upbringing except that it’s supposed to be a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. At this point, the Christian tradition of Christmas has fallen to the wayside in favor of more secular celebration, and whether or not this is a good thing depends on how important the individual asked considers the religious background of the holiday. In other countries, it has been interesting to compare the role of tradition versus modernization. In Bhutan, it has become a growing issue. Many policies have been put into place in order to ensure that Buddhist principles and traditions stay relevant as the country continues to modernize. However, it can be seen especially in the younger generation that many of the traditions are slowly becoming formalities rather than having historical or spiritual importance. It is important to consider whether or not the loss of the reason for traditions is worth the trade offs that result from the modernization of society.

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