Dangerous Traditions

This week I read the chilling headline: “Groom accidentally kills wedding guests.” I would have thought this was a (bad) joke had I been surfing The Onion. Alas, it was not a joke. The first paragraph of the CNN news report read:

“Three family members at a wedding in Turkey have been accidentally shot dead by the groom firing an AK-47 rifle in celebration. The groom, Tevfik Altin, lost control of his rifle, spraying the guests with bullets and killing his father and two aunts and injuring six others, according to CNN Turk.”

What a horrible story. This got me thinking about how ridiculous some of our human traditions are.
When traditions are first created, they are not a traditions. It is when an original cultural practice is repeated regularly by a group that it becomes a tradition. Though many traditions are helpful and beneficial around their origin, as the years pass, some become irrelevant (and may even be considered dangerous).

Of course, in our pluralistic world one is quickly considered culturally insensitive or worse when it comes to critiquing the foreign cultural practices of others. However, I’m betting that in this case, there are plenty of Turks who would agree that the “AK-47-rifle-wedding-shoot-out” ritual is one tradition that needs to, itself, die.

Why do we cling to our cultural traditions… 

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