Difference Between Custom and Tradition

Each society, community and family follows a series of customs and traditions with which they feel so familiar that they come to assume them as their own. However, these two words “tradition” and “custom”, although they share certain similarities, should not be used interchangeably. It is important that the difference between one and the other be understood.

The main difference between these two concepts lies in the amount of time associated with them, that is, when talking about traditions and customs, one of the fastest and easiest ways to know how to differentiate between one and the other is by taking into account what so long is the period of time they are kept.

If you have doubts about it or just want a little more information, keep reading, because below we will explain what the difference is between tradition and custom.

TRADITION  Difference Between Custom and Tradition

A tradition is a way of thinking, behaving or doing something that over time the people of a certain society, community or family have done in a similar way. It can be an idea or belief that is passed from one generation to the next.

It can be rooted in a particular religion or culture . For example, the communion ceremony and baptism are very important traditions in some Christian religions. In the case of a family tradition, an example could be given to the celebration carried out on a particular day of the year (in this case it will only be considered a tradition if the celebration continues over several generations within that family).

Traditions do not comprise strict rules, regulations, or a binding character ; for this reason some aspects of them can always be changed. For example, if we look at the Christmas tradition in the past we notice that the trees used to be decorated with foods such as apples and walnuts; different from how it is done today with lights and figurines.


On the other hand, a custom is a practice common to many or to a particular place or group of people, it can even be something individual. It is a way of behaving or doing something commonly accepted in a specific society, place, context or moment.

Finally, like traditions, customs can have their origin in the family: some gestures, acts or behaviors that are frequently put into practice end up becoming customs. Only when they are passed down through generations do they become traditions. Example: a man who goes to the hairdresser only once and at the end of each month or in some countries bowing his head as a sign of respect.

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