For other uses see Tradition (disambiguation).
The word tradition comes from the Latin traditionem, acc. of traditio which means "handing over, passing on", and is used in a number of ways in the English language:
However, on a more basic theoretical level, tradition(s) can be seen as information or composed of information. For that which is brought into the present from the past, in a particular societal context, is information. This is even more fundamental than particular acts or practices even if repeated over a long sequence of time.
A tradition is a practice, custom, or story that is memorized and passed down from generation to generation, originally without the need for a writing system. Tools to aid this process include poetic devices such as rhyme and alliteration. The stories thus preserved are also referred to as tradition, or as part of an oral tradition.
Tradition is a knowledge system (a means of transferring knowledge). Economists Friedrich Hayek and Thomas Sowell explain that tradition is an economically efficient way to transfer and obtain knowledge of all kinds. Sowell, for example, notes that decision-making consumes time (a valuable resource), and cultural traditions offer a rich, low-cost, consensually authenticated way to economize on the resources required to make decisions independently. 
Traditions are often presumed to be ancient, unalterable, and deeply important, though they may sometimes be much less "natural" than is presumed. Some traditions were deliberately invented for one reason or another, often to highlight or enhance the importance of a certain institution.Traditions may also be changed to suit the needs of the day, and the changes can become accepted as a part of the ancient tradition. A famous book on the subject is The Invention of Tradition, edited by Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger.
Some examples include "the invention of tradition" in Africa and other colonial holdings by the occupying forces. Requiring legitimacy, the colonial power would often invent a "tradition" which they could use to legitimize their own position. For example, a certain succession to a chiefdom might be recognized by a colonial power as traditional in order to favour their own candidates for the job. Often these inventions were based in some form of tradition, but were grossly exaggerated, distorted, or biased toward a particular interpretation.
The idea of tradition is important in philosophy. 20th century and Contemporary Western philosophy is often divided between an "analytic" tradition, dominant in Anglophone and Scandinavian countries, and a "Continental" tradition, dominant in German and Romance-speaking Europe.
In the Roman Catholic Church, traditionalism is the doctrine that Sacred Tradition holds equal authority to Holy Scripture. In the Orthodox Church, scripture is considered to be the core constituent of a larger tradition. These views are often condemned as heretical by Protestant churches, who hold the Bible to be the only valid tradition. Inspired by the Protestant rejection of tradition, the Age of Enlightenment began to consider even the Bible itself as a questionable tradition. The parentage of liberalism stems from this such attack on accepted notions of European traditional institutions, religious belligerence, state interference and aristocratic privilege.
Traditionalism may also refer to the concept of a fundamental human tradition present in all orthodox religions and traditional forms of society. This view is put forward by the Traditionalist School.
"Radical Traditionalism" refers to a worldview that stresses a return to traditional values of hard work, craftsmanship, local culture, tribal or clan orientation, and non-material values in response to a perceived excess of materialism, consumerism, technology, and societal homogeneity. Most Radical Traditionalists choose this term for themselves to stress their reaction to 'modern' society, as well as an equal disdain for more 'recent' forms of traditionalism based on Judeo-Christian and early-Industrial Age values. It is often allied with branches of Paganism that stress a return to old cultural values that predated the existence of the state system.
In Islam, traditionalism is the orthodox form, which places importance on traditional forms of learning and acknowledges different traditional schools of thought.
Comparison / Contrast