Are traditions kept safe in an era of new technology?
We have just completed another festive Easter week. Celebrating with friends, going to church and watching television reminded me of the many traditions of Easter, a holiday that started 2000 years ago.
Over the holiday, I watched Mary Berry’s Easter Feast where she featured Easter specialties from different cultures: babka from Poland, colomba di Pasqua from Italy, hot cross buns and roast lamb from England, lemongrass pork from the Philippines and tsoureki bread from Greece. These traditional Easter foods have been handed down over centuries and remain treasured today.
The word tradition comes from the Latin tradere meaning to transmit, to hand over, to give for safekeeping. It made me wonder, what will be the impact of the digital age on our traditions? Will we keep them safe or will they be overcome by technology?
I tried to research this and found no scholarly articles for the search “tradition” and “digital age”. I did, however, find a few articles that provided some interesting insights for considering this question. They suggest that technology helps us to preserve traditions because we have easier access to their history, and that traditions continue with new technology but may be delivered in different ways.
For example, Growing up in the Digital Age suggests that in China, technology actually helps to keep traditions because getting knowledge about history becomes easier for everyone.
The article Can Technology Help Preserve Elements of Culture in the Digital Age? suggests that technology can help to preserve elements of culture, and the ability to access to more local content is crucial to keep people in touch with their roots.
Finally, The New Traditions of a Digital Age Christmas suggests that while the digital age has impacted the way we interpret and enjoy Christmas, many of our traditions remain. We still listen to Christmas carols, but we use Spotify instead of LPs or CDs. We still give gifts, but they may be ordered online instead of purchased in stores. We still make traditional foods, but we search for the recipes on the internet instead of in cookbooks.
These articles are not scientific research, but I found the insights counterintuitive in the fact that technology may help to preserve traditions by better understanding their history. Perhaps these articles can provide “food for thought” while you enjoy whatever delicacies are special in your next holiday tradition.
Questions for consideration.
1. What traditions are important for you?
2. Do you see these evolving in some way in our digital age?
3. What role can technology play in enhancing your traditions?
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