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User Icon     Posted 1 month ago     by Jim Hook     

What's in a tradition?

Is it me, or do some of our new and younger generations have a dislike for tradition? I’m sure the mainstream media heap hype onto the subject and over publicise even the smallest act that can be seen as flying in the face of centuries old tradition. Hopefully thats all it is, just the media trying to inflame people’s long held believes of what is right and what is wrong in order to sell more toilet paper.

Tradition in countryside pursuits goes back a long way, but do we really know how far? Possibly the more important question is are all of our ‘quirks’ still applicable today? Statistics seem to show that the numbers of those taking up fieldsports are growing but on the downside the age demographics of the same new recruits are at the higher end of the scale. I think I’m right in saying that we do need new young blood to engage in these very important activities as it’s not all about ‘sport’, but rather the management of our wonderful countryside and the species that inhabit it.

Tradition is something that defines communities and cultures throughout the world. Eating turkey at Christmas, or carving ghouls from pumpkins at Halloween, they define different times of the year and bring communities together to take part in physical social interactions. To a degree, that helps define a community. I may be being a little ‘generalist’ when I say that ‘community’ seems to be less prevalent in larger cities and becoming more an aspect of people living in the countryside. Thats possibly a contentious observation, but it does often feel as though people living in cities often have negative things to say about traditions that abide in smaller market towns and villages. The point that naysayers seem to miss, is that traditions evolve throughout the development of a community and culture, so tend to have significant meaning for those who still celebrate them. Traditions may of course fade into history but that is because a community evolves. Simply trying to enforce your beliefs on another that their traditions are wrong or bad certainly won’t result in capitulation. Indeed the opposite is likely to be the result and thus expanding an already considerable divide in peoples perceptions and beliefs.

In our country pursuit activities I believe there is a strong bond between tradition and etiquette. The two are often intertwined with each other. Wearing a tie, for example, on a driven shoot may be seen more as etiquette than tradition but it’s hard to separate them. What is important however, is that we actually have these traditions. It adds history, depth, and meaning to what we do. It demonstrates a respect for the activity and all of those attributes that help define its purpose. Tradition helps us enforce a respect for our actions and ensure we act in a way that evolution has demanded as honourable and legitimate. For me, being mindful of both the large and small actions that we undertake as part of what we, as a whole, deem as commensurate to our undertakings is essential in defending our passions for the great outdoors.

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