Customary Vs. Traditional

I have found in my watching of British television and cultural observation that the British use the word “Traditional” more than Americans do. I really noticed that the notion of tradition is more vocal here, however I think Americans have traditions but we highlight them in a different way.


When I ask British people how to do something, when it is some thing like posing for a photo or making a cup of tea I have heard responses like, “Well it is traditional to do…”. I think that the notion of tradition is more active here.
In America we pride ourselves on our break with tradition. We sorta think of tradition as slightly limiting. However, in America we are more customary. We say, “It is customary to do…”


Although this distinction is very small it is worth noting. Custom is, “ widely accepted way of behaving” where as a tradition is, “a transmission of custom from generation to generation”. I think because Americans don’t have such an extended history we don’t have such a pronounced notion of transmission from generation to generation and we more simply use Custom.


These are just my thoughts.

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