...and why to we keep our heads covered? I'll tell you... I don't know. But it is Tradition!....
Yeah, still my favorite play/musical/movie, and all due to Tradition. No I'm not saying it is cool to do something out of tradtions sake and not know why. If you do so, and hold to that tradtional thing, then maybe you do so to honor the whole of the tradtion without know the details of each traditional thing involved. Deep hugh?
Tradition, what a wonderful thing, it carries the concepts, ideas, beliefs, and unity of a culture forward into time. Without traditions we could not 'see' each culture in the crowd. Tradition feeds and will eventually breed diversity! And it should. Diversity is change within and because of tradition, and evolution of tradition and a birth of new traditions, as each culture, religion, society creates it's own tradition.
Embrace diversity, but not at the expence of dissolving tradition. These is no honor in the new traditions to come if we cannot see nor understand why we do what we do compared to why we did it differently. Tradition usually works, at least for the time needed to transend time into the generation(s) that come after the inception of a tradition. Change within traditions are there to help keep it alive, not kill it. New traditions come and go, as do older ones, but at what costs? It is our history that shows us our path into our future. You don't believe me? Fine, walk into the wilderness without ever learning about what to eat, the ways of the preditors, how to find water and if it is safe to drink. We learn all these from history, someone learned it, recorded it, and shared it. You are not born with that information, only the instinct to survive in the wilderness, not How to.
History gives us many traditions to come from, and a lot of the 'new' or Neo-Pagans find no harm in adapting, changing and combining traditions to suite them. At least some give honor to the original traditions by keeping it's history alive. I change, I adapt, but I am still seen and knnown as a traditionalist. I know the history, the reasons why the details of my tradition, each facet, each detail, and teach that so it will not be lost. Does it all still apply today? Yes, however in different conceptual applications and with modern or more politacaly correct expressions.
With out the founders of traditions, with out the histories of our cultures, religions, sciences, and governments, we whould have to make this up as we go and hope to survive it's ramifications and reactions of others. It's wakling into the wilderness as a babe, and being eaten by the bear! We know because some one, at some time, honored someone's history/experiance/knowledge and culture/tradition/religion and taught us! Tradition is more than how we do things or why we do things, but how we believe and what we believe. Its the 'proper way' to act/react to situations. It's the language we speak, the menue we all order form in our day to day life. It is 'normal' for us, or if it not seen as the normal way, then it might be from someone else's tradition.
EXAMPLE: Why do resturants place a glass of water on the tabble, before asking for your order?
No, had nothing to do with whetting your dry mouth or washing down the traveling dust. King Henery once toured his countryside, and upon entering a tavern ordered a drink. It was watered down! He declared that from then on, all taverns, inns, and gathering houses were to offer the water to the patrons, and serve the drink undiluted.
That not only became a law then, but a tradition that most resturants still observe today!
Many traditions survive it's original cultures and or religions. They do so by adapting or being adopted. They are altered a bit now and then, and ressurected time and agin. This is the way of the history of all cultures, and the survival of them. From clan, to tribe, to region, to state, to country. We all declare some sort of cultural nationality. The same holds true in religious beliefs and traditions, and can be spread as far as we can travel to as many as we can teach. Tradition allows us to contact and commune on a cultural level with ancestors and others of that tradition sometimes with out words but by the action of observing or keeping a traditional custom. The depths of traditions go as deep as the thing that gives it birth. And to stay alive, it remains not a 'thing' but a 'reason' of that which birthed it.
Embrace Diversity, Honor Tradition, change will come, when it is time.