A tradition is known to be a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past. It is something that many people do, and have done for an extended period (Jones, Presler-Marshall, Emirie & Tefera, 2018). In narrower meaning, however, a tradition is a viewpoint of society on significant matters such as sacred and political affairs throughout generations (Meriwether, 2018). This paper shall discuss the importance of traditional customs to teenagers, particularly in the Middle East.
In most cases, people come from the same country, culture, or religion (Mayer, A. E. (, 2018). Usually, they don't know when the custom started. Many traditions are things that people do that are handed down from the past (Mayer, 2018).
The majority of these customs have been sourced and formed from various origins, such as the living in the past, the World's viewpoints, interesting coincidences, and significant events (Jones, Presler-Marshall, Emirie & Tefera, 2018).
The Middle East is a transcontinental region that includes Western Asia and Arabs, although excluding the Caucasus and all of Egypt, which is mostly in North Africa (Mayer, 2018). The term has come into more extensive usage as a replacement of the name Near East as opposed to the Far East beginning in the early 20th century (Jones, Presler-Marshall, Emirie & Tefera, 2018). In the Middle East, customs are shared set of traditions, belief systems, and behaviors and is shaped by history, religion, ethnic identity, language, and nationality, among other factors.
The Middle East consists of approximately 20 countries, with many different religions and a variety of ethnic and linguistic groups (Jones, Presler-Marshall, Emirie & Tefera, 2018). According to the Arabs, for example, the family is an essential part of the culture in the Middle East, as is evident in the Arabic honorific names that are often used in preference to given names.
A man may be called Ibn ("son of") followed by his father's name or Abu ("father of") followed by his child's name (Jones, Presler-Marshall, Emirie & Tefera, 2018). In traditional Arab societies, the family unit is an extended family living together, which comprises grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins, second cousins, cousins in law, nieces, nephews, and other group members (Mayer, 2018).
This, particularly, remains true in rural areas. A teenager, or teen, is a person who falls between the ages of 13 to 19 years old (Mayer, 2018). A teenager may also be referred to as an adolescent. Family plays a significant role in the life of Middle Eastern teens (Jones, Presler-Marshall, Emirie & Tefera, 2018). They have what they believe in as their god, but what the majority does is what they follow.
Implications of the Cultural Beliefs on the Lives of Teenagers
They have diverse religious groups and their traditional ways of worshipping. There are different religions found in the Middle East; Islam is a big one (Jones, Presler-Marshall, Emirie & Tefera, 2018). Teens that adhere to the Islamic tradition might have a different style of dress, such as wearing a hijab. They might also be required to meet other religious requirements, such as praying five times a day (Mayer, 2018).
When it comes to body language, those from the Middle East might have a distinct body language that is different from Americans (Mayer, 2018). For example, due to specific customs, teens may lower their eyes when speaking to the opposite sex or older generations. They will also generally give and require a standard amount of personal space (Jones, Presler-Marshall, Emirie & Tefera, 2018).
This makes them more observant of the traditions and customs of their ethnic groups. They carry out themselves concerning what they are taught; some emulate good deeds they learn from their role models, parents, and guardians (Meriwether, 2018). Most of the teens in the Middle East rarely adopt to external influences of a culture that may be out of their customs (Vatikiotis, 2016).
Once they get rooted in their culture and customs, they grow up to find their parents and grandparents believe in; they are hard to be changed and be made believe in something contrary to their traditional customs (Mayer, 2018). Out of a group of 100 teenagers in the Middle East, only a few percentages or numbers could be influenced by emerging cultural trends that many teens worldwide are into (Jones, Presler-Marshall, Emirie & Tefera, 2018).
Concerning their food and dishes, they have almost the same names across the Middle Eastern countries but with different tastes depending on the given regions in the states (Mayer, 2018). They contain different herbs and spices, whereby some have lamb and other beef, while others use cheese instead of meat (Meriwether, 2018). The realized differences are brought about by the availability of native ingredients that were traded in their markets since the periods of barter trade till today where the currency is used in place and exchange of goods (Mayer, 2018).
The ingredients that characterized Middle Eastern food include; chicken peas, lentils, olives, and vegetables, which are an essential part of their cuisine (Vatikiotis, 2016). The teens eat what is offered and eaten by their families. They are brought up in accordance to the way food and dishes are made (Jones, Presler-Marshall, Emirie & Tefera, 2018).
For female teens, they stay close to their female parents when cooking to be taught how to prepare and serve guests, parents, their other siblings, and other family members in general as they are used to living in a large family (Mayer, 2018).
Most of these Middle East teenagers observe the routine and cleanliness in their homesteads as taught by the grandparents, parents, or even cousins and aunties (Mayer, 2018). They follow the footsteps of their role models who maybe their parents or the larger society who act and carry out themselves with modesty and customs of every ethnic group in the various countries (Jones, Presler-Marshall, Emirie & Tefera, 2018).
A more significant percentage grow up well-groomed and brought up with respect and communication skills (Mayer, 2018). They communicate well with their parents, other people outside the family, or even their peers (Vatikiotis, 2016). They have a decent social life since they are allowed to socialize when in schools, colleges, or even those that attend Universities while teens (Meriwether, 2018).
Their marriage life is well planned as the two families become one and are united by the marriage rite (Vatikiotis, 2016). The majority grow up when they have already known whom and which families they will get married to since the ladies are 'booked' earlier when they are still young. Engagement ring put into their fingers by the spouse, who proposes and understands into an agreement with the parents (Jones, Presler-Marshall, Emirie & Tefera, 2018).
While some customs are stationary and continuous, some of them are of a nature to change in time (Mayer, 2018). One part of traditions, keeping pace with the tremendous changing waves of society, preserve their specifications to one extent, by complying with limited changes in their specialty and structures, the other part of them, just like live organisms, lose their effectiveness and liveliness in time and then they cease to exist (Mayer, 2018). Traditions are divided into two, verbal and written. Just like customs, but much powerful than them, they play an important role in arranging and controlling social life.
Traditions that are generally conservative in terms of their qualifications are competent in such social institutions as family, law, religion, and policy; science and art are somewhat less affected by traditions (Meriwether, 2018). Action by an individual is contrary to the traditions of his/her group or community, in proportion to the degree of such opposition, is resulted in types of reactions varying from individuals to be ex-communication to assault by the community, from despising to mockery (Vatikiotis, 2016). There are a variety of traditions that have been specified by law, just like customs
From the above discussions, it is concluded that teenagers in the Middle East still consider the traditional customs important right from worship, lifestyle, foods, and dishes they use, social life to their dressing code. Traditional custom also provides a forum to showcase role models and celebrate the things that matter in life, a chance to appreciate for the good deeds and also enables us to showcase the principles of our Founding Fathers, celebrate diversity, and unite as a country not forgetting the sole purpose of serving as an avenue for creating lasting memories for our families and friends. Tradition offers an excellent context for meaningful pause and reflection
Jones, N., Presler-Marshall, E., Emirie, G., & Tefera, B. (2018). Rethinking the future-seeking narrative of child migration: the case of Ethiopian adolescent domestic workers in the Middle East. African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal, 11(1), 20-32. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/17528631.2017.1342983
Mayer, A. E. (2018). Islam and human rights: Tradition and politics. Routledge.
Meriwether, M. L. (2018). A social history of women and gender in the modern Middle East. Routledge.
Vatikiotis, P. J. (2016). Conflict in the Middle East. Routledge.
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