There exist in every society these two items; culture and tradition. The two are basically interdependent and as such the difference between them cannot be spotted from a mere look at them. In this article, we intend to bring to light the difference between culture and tradition in a clear way that you can understand and make informed decisions based on.

From the definition, let us consider what culture and tradition mean to an educationist or a student by just a listen to them.

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Culture is an umbrella term, refers to the social behavior and norms found in human societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals in these groups. In simple terms, culture is a way of life of people living in a defined geographical location.

In the same light, tradition is a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance to such people with origins in the past which can be pointed to and explained.

Now let us move on to what exactly draws the difference between these two society behavioral terms.

Difference Between Culture And Tradition


The term culture when practicalized talks about the way people who are bound together by a segment of society live their lives for which they can be identified publicly. For culture, people who are strangers in a particular area are not bound to live by it.

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Culture may include but is not limited to: a way of dressing, kind of dress, languages spoken by the society, a way of worship, a place of worship.

For instance; the Ewes of Ghana speak ewe language, eat akple, wear native cloth, and are identified mostly by worshiping in shrines while the Akans speak the Twi, Akuapem, and or Fante languages, eat fufu, wear their native kente, and are have their own unique way of worship separate from the former.


Tradition is a limited-used and applicable term. It is carved to suit people who are related or believe they are related not necessarily by blood but also by relationships they have created and defined themselves.

To clear a misconception, tradition has nothing to do with being an idol worshiper nor a visitor to the shrines. This is because different traditions may exist among people who are bound by the same culture including Christians and idolators.

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Take for example; A family may decide to say a prayer to purify their lost member every week or month and that becomes a tradition to them since that is what they have come to believe. Also, a church may ask members to take off their footwear before entering the main building and that would become a tradition upon which their worship would be based.

Now, in summary, let us see the difference between culture and tradition:

  1. Culture is defined by a geographic location while tradition is defined by a group.
  2. Culture is passed on by society and not narrated (people grow to know how to live) but tradition is passed on by narrations from older people.
  3. While culture exists among a particular society, tradition exists among groups of members of the same culture.
  4. Whereas culture is a way of life/living, tradition is a behavior portrayed by people


Originally Compiled By: KENNEDY HATEKAH

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