Traditions are passed down from generation to generation and are preserved because they provide a sense of comfort.
Groups of people and families repeat time-honored customs without a compelling reason other than the fact that it's what the generation before them engaged in.
However, there are some traditions that are outdated by today's standards and are ones people could do without.
These were explored when Redditor NewImprovement1160 asked:
"What’s a tradition that you think people should get rid of?"
Cakes are meant for consuming, not this.
"Smashing of the face on the birthday cake."
"Similarly, shoving cake in your new spouse's face during a wedding reception. I hate it."
"This tradition is so bad. The bride perfects her makeup and gets her face slathered with cake and can't just wash it off like a guy would."
"One of my friends was getting married and she told me she discussed the cake smashing with her fiancé before hand and explained why he shouldn't do it. When it came time, they fed each other and she dabbed a small bit of frosting on his nose; everyone laughed, it was cute."
"He was offended and tried to smash the whole plate in her face. She backed away in time and walked away; everyone was laughing...except for him. He chased her down, grabbed her by the neck, and smeared his cake all over her face. It was like watching a 10-year-old teach his 6-year-old sibling a lesson."
"She tried to laugh it off as she retreated to the bathroom for repairs, but I could tell she was seething. The room went ice-cold."
"To everyone asking if she immediately dumped him: of course not, this was a real story. They've been married for 20 years and have a couple of kids. She was 22 and poor and the hottest (horse) girl at our university, working on her Mrs. degree. He was 30 with his own business; he bought her a Porsche she uses to travel the horse jumping circuit with her daughter (and her horse). He wanted a trophy wife and she wanted to be a wealthy SAHM; they both got what they were looking for."
Redditors share trauma they've experienced when they were younger.
"I agree so much!!! I've had a family member do it to a young child who cried. What an a**hole!"
"I was a young child this happened to. My father's then-girlfriend (later wife, now ex-wife) smashed my face into my cake on my 6th birthday. All I remember was a ruined birthday cake and running out of the room, confused and crying. It's been nearly 30 years, and I still haven't forgiven her."
"My father in-law did it to his 12y.o. nephew. The nephew punched him in the face and then they tussled and had to be separated. Lol."
"I hate cold water. A lot! As an adult, I can prepare for it, and just go against the grain, and make myself feel tough. But as a kid, it was just always unpleasant to me to be in cold water."
"A family friend, aware of this, threw me into a cold pool once. What the actual f'k? I cried, because I was like, 8. But a bunch of adults thought it was funny, so cool, right?"
"I married into a Honduran family, love them all…seriously the greatest people I’ve ever met (minus Carlos..he’s a dick ) and this is a huge thing that I’ve been fighting them on. Smash my kids face into their cake and you’ll be eating drywall. 😂 violent sure but I’m not kidding"
And you thought tying the knot was always a good thing.
No Other Option
"I have an Indian friend and his parents basically just sent his wife here from India and said you’re marrying her a couple years ago. I don’t understand it at all but I think they do it like a business deal back at home."
Explaining Arranged Vs. Forced Marriages
"It should be clarified in most cases there is a difference between 'arranged' marriages and 'forced' marriages. Arranged marriages are still quite common but the prospective couple each have the ability to say no. Essentially the parents are finding who they think is a good match but it’s not uncommon for either person to back out (especially these days). In the case of your friend his parents just suck."
How Deep Is Your Love...And Your Wallet?
"Super extravagant and expensive weddings."
"I'll add in spending enough money to make a down payment on a car or home for an engagement ring as well."
Paying For Rites Of Passage
"Expensive wedding and funerals, specially with funerals, that person is already dead."
"My brother was telling his wife and me about his wishes after he is gone. He wants to be cremated, his ashes thrown in a coffee tin, and then scattered in the mountains. He also does not want a funeral or memorial service. He just wants his friends and family to get trashed the very night of his passing."
I've always said this and believe to be true.
Tipping should no longer be customary.
People working in the service industry deserve higher wages, and it's not up to the customer to determine if a server at a restaurant will be making enough that week to put food on their own table.
Other countries don't have this tipping system and somehow I've managed to have excellent service.
There are no expectations and pressure imposed on both the server and patron.
Different parts of the world are characterized by diversity and culture.
It's what makes us all unique.
But sometimes, it's those differences that can seem perplexing to those who don't have an open mind.
And instead of trying to be enlightened by foreign customs that are "normal", they can be perceived as "strange" or "weird" by outsiders.
Redditor ojlol2 sought to spark a conversation on the concept of what is normal by asking:
"What is normal in your country but seems weird to the rest of the world?"
The following descriptions are of how people roll in their respective regions.
It Tells Us When To Go
"Calling a Traffic Light a Robot."
"Men holding hands in public as a display of friendship is normal in Afghanistan but super weird in the west."
"Whole restaurants cheering when a plate or glass is smashed (UK). Once was in a Canadian bar/restaurant on holiday and a waiter dropped a tray of glasses, the local looked horrified when I was out of my seat screaming 'wheyyyyyy.'”
"Eating with our hands."
"In 1969 (the same year the man landed on the moon), Miss Gloria Diaz coveted the Philippines' first Miss Universe Crown. During the preliminary Q&A, she was asked 'Is it true that you Filipinos use your hand when you eat?' To which she replied 'Why? Do you use your feet?' and went her way to winning the crown."
"In my friend's country, Easter is when gangs of boys roam the countryside, pouring water over girls and beating them (gently) with sticks. The girls then have to thank them for it."
"I thought that was pretty weird."
Respect The Slumber
"Leaving your baby alone outside for their nap, even if it rains or snows."
They're forms of protection.
"Putting broken glass bottles on the walls around your house so burglars cant jump it and rob you. I moved to Canada and they don't even have walls around the houses!"
"Putting cable ties, branches, fake eyes etc on helmets, buckets and hats in spring time to scare away the birds. Magpies are vicious."
These are so yum.
Now, Stomach This
"Blood pudding and fermented fish."
Would You Be "Loving' It?"
"Having Spaghetti in Mcdonalds."
How Sweet & Savory
"Eating biscuits and gravy. I traveled to the UK and told them that biscuits and gravy is a very common breakfast food and as you would expect they were highly confused (biscuit=cookie across the pond) why we would take something sweet and cover it in gravy. And also was confused that the gravy we use has sausage in it and is white."
Some people not from Japan think it's "weird" how commuters on the subways of Tokyo are all deathly silent.
There are signs discouraging normal level conversations. Phone calls are restricted.
As a visitor, I actually appreciated the peace and quiet. It's the only place of zen until riders step out into the chaotic flow of their day-to-day living.
If serenity is not for you, then using New York's MTA system must be pure bliss.
But, to each their own.
Life is moving so fast.
Everytime we get used to something it seems like it evolves and we have to learn more.
I miss CD's. Spotify confuses me.
AOL chat rooms were simple. What the H*LL is Discourse? Or Discontent?
I miss TV just being on channels in the box.
There are so many apps I have cold sweats.
And I can just tap my credit card and pay for things?
It's too much.
But all the things I learned will soon be gone.
Like the OG Toys 'R Us.
Time to say farewell...
Redditor Substantial-Young-85 asked:
"What will die with millennials?"
Remember when cars were driven by people?
That's going the way of the horse and buggy.
"I once tried to explain the my niece that phones used to be wired to walls. She's ten (she was six at the time) cell phones are all she's ever known. Among the reasons she guessed as to why they were 'tied' to walls: To stop people from stealing them."
N_WhoPhone Call Dancing GIF by Crissy ConnerGiphy
"Memory of life without internet."
"When I was a kid, we didn't have the internet."
"I remember asking our son one time if he knew how much tablet time I git when I was a kid (he was complaining that he was t getting enough). He guessed 2 hours. I told him 0, because the internet, let alone tablets, weren't really a thing yet. He looks confused and mystified."
Looked it Up?
"Remembering someone’s phone number."
"Still have my 3 best friends numbers memorized, when I haven't needed to use that info for 15+ years, as well as most of my family. Intentionally memorized my boyfriend's in case there's an emergency and I don't have my phone."
"I know my parents' home number and a few friends from high school's telephone numbers. I do not know my wife's telephone number and when I do need it I always look it up on my phone."
"Dubbing cassettes and burning your own mix on CD."
"Ahhhh, waiting by the radio for an hour for them to play your favorite song. You push record at just the right moment. Song plays! Only for the DJ to talk over the last 30 seconds. Sigh. Memories."
"Or somewhere yells into the basement or your room. Followed by “I AM TRYING TO RECORD A TAPE!"
"3.5 inch floppy discs."
"I have a sealed 5 pack box of those in my room, wonder how much they are worth nowadays."
Floppy what? Even I barely remember those. LOL.
"Watching 'whatever was on.' Everything is always on now, you don’t stumble into an interesting (or awful) show because it’s the only thing mildly interesting on TV."
ChefJeff7777777television fashion GIF by DenyseGiphy
"that's not right surely"
"A coworker and I were talking a while ago and we started thinking/ talking about how the general population (not the ones going to school for it or people truly interested) most younger and older people don't understand a lot about computers. If it's not app, most people aren't really sure how to get to it on a computer."
"I thought, 'that's not right surely' but when trying to get a younger coworker (different dept) to add a printer he literally asked me "wheres the app I can't find it to add the printer" and I just like stared into the middle distance for a sec before just doing it for him. It was like navigating a computer wasn't something he'd done in his life."
"And he's only like 4 years younger than me. He's glued to a cell phone too so I was like yeah ok this guy should know. Nope. This is only one example though. However, when I really stop and think about it, the window from late 80s-00s were really the testing phase for home computers and most to all websites. So navigating them, learning basic code (OG, Myspace people)."
"And just figuring out computer language (not code just the terms) for normal people... really ended when cell phones became more popular. But it feels weird to have to explain stuff to someone younger than me while simultaneously doing the same thing when they are older. It's kinda frustrating tbh but mostly just mind boggling."
"Playing multi-player video games with split screens in one room."
"Eeehh split screens will probably be a thing forever I mean if Nintendo is still strong and going in the 2080s then we will still have Mario Party."
"We used to do LAN parties. You could hook up to 4 Xboxes to each other any play a couple of people on each one. It was great. Cords running everywhere, but 4 Xboxes running at once mad for some fun times. You'd constantly be yelling back and forth between rooms and mom would lose it."
"Knowledge of pre-digital life. An appreciation for sending and receiving letters in the mail. As Arcade Fire put it, we used to wait. Memory of the USA pre 9/11. Using maps and Thomas Guides for road trips. Guys, I’m so old I remember the first time my dad used MapQuest to print out directions for a cross country trip, and how novel it seemed at the time."
"Apparently using a Haynes or a Chilton’s manual to work on your car. I hate using YouTube videos for car maintenance, but it looks like that’s all I have left."
RandomGovtEmployeeconfused season 2 GIF by Blunt TalkGiphy
I'm feeling a bit nostalgic. Oh the memories...
People like to say that there is nothing wrong with routine or tradition and generally there isn't... until there is, of course. The truth is there are myriad traditions out there actually inhumane and antithetical to human life.
Meanwhile, other traditions (like public proposals) are much more innocent but pretty annoying depending on who you ask.
Why not toss them all out and start over again, eh?
People shared their thoughts with us after Redditor bewarethechameleon asked the online community:
"What traditions should have never existed?"
"Those pricks that slam a birthday cake in someone’s face."
If I paid good money for a wedding cake, I'd be so, so annoyed if someone did this to me. Especially on a suit!
"Diamond engagement ring being X months' salary. Brilliant marketing, but utterly ridiculous. I say this as a girl who isn't inherently against sparkly rocks."
Yeah... there's no reason why they should be expensive. Going in debt for an engagement and/or a wedding sounds absurd to me.
"Wedding industry. Every bride is a princess all of a sudden."
Even those who aren't necessarily trying to be fancy find that it ends up costing a fortune anyway. Backyard weddings are the way to go.
"Removing a woman's clitoris in some African countries."
Female genital humiliation is horrible. A horrendous practice that traumatizes young women the world over.
"Those ass backward cultures..."
"Those ass-backward cultures where it's 'tradition' for a bride-to-be's in-laws (usually male in-laws) check her for 'purity 'That needs to stop."
A few years ago, the rapper T.I. revealed that he would go to gynecologist appointments with his then-18-year-old daughter to "check her hymen," an admission that exposed him to immediate criticism.
"The concept of honor killing doesn’t add up. Someone does something that smears your family name so you decide to off them. And this achieves…what? Now you’ve got a murderer in your family."
The idea behind it is that if your family or family's name has been desecrated in any way, it is the honorable thing to do to defend your family in retaliation. If nobody in the family fought back, it is seen as being weak.
"Over the top..."
"Over the top public proposals."
I think I would be mortified. Putting someone on the spot like that is like giving them no other option BUT to say yes.
"Foot binding. One of the few things the Chinese communists did right was exterminating that practice."
When I was a child, I read Homesick: My Own Story, a memoir by the author Jean Fritz, who spent the first twelve years of her life in China. At multiple points, she spoke about her amah, a woman by the name Lin Nai-Nai.
The descriptions of Lin Nai-Nai's bound feet have stayed with me all these years later.
"No one on the internet..."
"Over-the-top baby gender reveals. No one on the internet cares about your baby's gender, so stop trying to overdo it to go viral."
I have never met anyone who has actually done one of these and I don't think I want to.
"Influencers putting their kids on social media for entertainment's sake without their consent. I predict 10-15 years from now there will be a ton of court cases of grown up kids of influencers suing their parents."
Data privacy is going to be next major technological revolution, mark my words.
What a world we live in. While some traditions are humorous, even harmless, others are detrimental, even cruel to human life. What would it take to change them? The answer is undoubtedly complex.
Have some observations of your own? Feel free to tell us more in the comments below!
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Tradition can be a beautiful thing--they can keep us connected to our cultures and histories.
But they can just as easily be antiquated holdovers that don't serve a real purpose.
Let's talk about that stuff. Reddit user Alicia-XTC asked:
And here's the thing... a lot of this stuff is just flat out predatory. Like a lot.
The Funeral IndustryLarenz Tate Starz GIF by Power Book II: GhostGiphy
"Stupidly expensive funeral everything. Why the f*ck is a casket like 846374846 dollars?" - -slinxthefox-
"Apparently this is a crime." - chupacabruhhh
"Because what are you going to do, not die? They have the most captive market possible" - boots-n-bows
"Costco for caskets, my friend."
"Lost my dad at the beginning of the pandemic, he passed away in a small town with one funeral home. Their prices were ridiculous, so we bought the casket from Costco and had it shipped to the funeral home. It was gorgeous and it was about a third of the price." - ADiestlTrain
What Marriage Looks LikeWedding No GIF by S4CGiphy
"Child marriage is still legal in most of the US with parent permission (more like force vs permission.) Its definitely still a thing in most of the world 🤢 even when it's illegal people get away with it" - theflooflord
"Forced marriage" - anderogenus
"There's a difference between an arranged and forced marriage. A forced marriage is when you have absolutely no say in the matter and have to go along with it."
"An arranged marriage is more like your family is playing slightly aggressive matchmaker until you find the one." - GammaRayGreg
"Arranged marriages are despicable. It's NOT two consenting adults, no matter how you phrase it."
"It's two young adults who are pressured by society and family and cultural norms into the most important decision of their life. And the societies that have those kinds of marriages have deep seeded racism and misogyny issues."
"People will say that the 'new' way to arrange marriage is fine because it's two adults dating normally after their parents introduce them. But it's not. It's two adults dating with the added pressure of not disappointing their families. As well as it being forbidden for them to date normally."
"And how often do the families select someone outside their race?" - thegoatisoldngnarly
Calm Down, It's Just GenderFamily Love GIF by Digimate.ioGiphy
"Gender reveals that involve fire works or confetti can go f*ck themselves. I don't care if a gender reveal is done through a cake or party decor because they're ultimately harmless, but gender reveals that use fireworks and confetti just suck." - Allustar1
"The woman who invented them wants the tradition to end, I've heard." - GenericEschotologist
"It's also not really a gender reveal. It's a genital reveal."
"There is no guarantee that your child will be cisgender, but even if they are cis, you won't fully know until they start developing a sense of self."
"So, basically, it's creating a hazard to announce to the world that your child has a penis." - murrimabutterfly
"It's especially sad when one of the parents is really hoping for a particular gender and doesn't bother to hide their disappointment." - whysweetpea
"It's gone from a cheesy way to announce what you're having to setting forest fires and killing people. Instead of people just having fun, it's becoming a game of one-upsmanship and people feel obligated to do one now." - permalink_save
Hazingcollege pledging GIF by The Orchard FilmsGiphy
"Hazing. It can be dangerous and serves no reasonable purpose."
"If a group is forcing you to do something very risky or something you're uncomfortable doing, you should rethink your decision to join. There are tons of other safe activities that you could make into initiation rituals, but people always choose the most dangerous ones." - RDEnergizer7000
"A family friend died during hazing."
"Got super drunk because that was the ritual. Was encouraged to go into the dark basement and stay there as long as possible."
"He tripped, hit his head, and died after two days due to the hemorrhage in his brain. He was 19." - murrimabutterfly
"Though I agree with you that hazing is stupid, there is a purpose to hazing which is to bond you closer to those you were hazed with through a shared experience." - Cheeseish
"In computer lab, we just bonded by solving each other's coding problems." - PotatoProfessor
"If someone asks you to harm yourself so you can "bond with the group", you need to leave. Immediately." - The_Louster
Back To Black
"Black Fridays" - purplealchemist
"I worked at Best Buy for a year, one Black Friday under my belt. That was enough."
"I was dating a coworkers sister at the time and was having Thanksgiving dinner with them and their family. My friend/coworker and I sat there in our blue polos and quickly ate as we had to leave at like 3pm to be there in time to prepare for black Friday, which of course started Thanksgiving evening."
"For a couple of years after that I used to go to that Best Buy on Thanksgiving evening with a big bag of candy for everyone. I don't do it anymore because I don't know anyone who works there anymore, but Black Friday is a sh*t tradition for anyone working retail, though" - BreezyGoose
"You are not getting any kind of deal, whatsoever. You are buying a cheap knock-off, packaged by the major company."
"SONY, VIZIO, Dell, etc., are not giving away free money, or taking a hit on profits." - tauntonlake
People Explain Which Expensive Purchases Paid For Itself In The Long Run | George Takei’s Oh Myyy
Garter GrossnessAnimated GIFGiphy
"The whole removal of the bride's garter and tossing of it at weddings. Cringe and creepy AF." - junkyarddog
"Obviously, women were not pleased with the idea of their fancy dresses being ripped off their bodies over the course of the day, so the bouquet toss and garter toss are a way to give the guests a piece of that good luck without the destructiveness."
"I looked up a lot of wedding traditions for my own wedding, specifically to cut out the patriarchal BS, that was one I decided was okay." - Lexicological
"Wanna hear something even worse? At One of my cousins' weddings, her uncle was an auctioneer and he auctioned off the garter at the reception."
"The idea was like to raise money for the couple kind of like how the dollar dance works, but holy f*ck it was creepy as hell." - shrimpsauce91
Unnecessary Surgerybaby documentary GIF by SundanceNOW DocClubGiphy
"Infant circumcision" - MushyFry
"To those people I always ask who failed to teach them how to care for themselves. And why did you have sex with someone who cannot care for themselves in that way?"
"They never have a real answer." - GazelleEconomyOf87
"Hospitals make a lot of money off of selling the foreskins for use in cosmetics, there's basically a whole industry built around keeping that "tradition" alive despite multiple risks and it being unnecessary 99% of the time." - Kipper246
"Virginity"Clueless Movie Adult Humor GIF by filmeditorGiphy
"Losing your virginity. Virginity is not a thing." - Queen6Cat
"It's literally nothing. You now have an experience you didn't before. Unless the experience was traumatizing you are no different afterward than before. You're still exactly the same person." - Respect4All_512
"I have a friend who just turned 24 and she's never had sex before. She feels like some sort of freak because she's "still a virgin" to the point that she wants to have sex with a random person just to get it over with. It's dumb that we place so much weight on having sex for the first time." - treeplanter98
"My 29 year-old sister just asked my sixteen-year-old brother "So have you done the DEED yet?" Last week at a family function."
"This made him visibly uncomfortable but he said no."
"Seriously what even is the point of asking such questions? Why does it matter? I felt so bad for him and she was acting like the damn teenager even though she's almost thirty." - DarkDan3
"Letting balloons go at memorial services. It's so terrible for the environment/animal/everything." - Kate9616
"Pisses me off so much. What dead person would want to be remembered in a tribute that kills wildlife and pollutes the planet." - Jessflyc
"When I was a kid, we used to have "balloon day" at school - every kid would get a balloon, write their name and contact info on a tag attached to it, and we'd go outside and release them. Who had a tag returned from the furthest away won a prize."
"Half of the balloons would never make it off school grounds, getting caught in trees and whatnot." - theshoegazer
It's Bullblack and white vintage GIFGiphy
"Bull fighting. Not sure why this tradition still goes on."
"Nothing like having a bull that is tortured and tormented for days so it is weak and disoriented, thrown into a ring to be stabbed and harassed until it bleeds to death all while a crowd cheers it on."
"What is even the point? The matador isn't doing a whole lot seeing how the bull is already so weak from its treatment before and then the pikadors stab it half a dozen times before the matador does anything." - Stitchmidda2
The "War" On ChristmasCbs Christmas GIF by HULUGiphy
"People saying each year that there is an attack on Christmas while everyone says Merry Christmas, decorates, and listens to radio stations that play nothing but Christmas songs for two months." - madeyedog
Graduation Dayjennifer love hewitt graduation GIFGiphy
"Graduations for every single year of school from preschool and kindergarten to high school. IMHO this is just to get people to buy more stuff like gifts, cards, have celebrations, etc. Forced consumerism."
"I think it is ok to have a celebration without calling it a 'graduation' because by the time high school graduation happens it is not a special event. College Graduation becomes a not so special event because it has been watered down." - Rapunzel111
Ruined By CakeFood Fight Cake GIF by TLCGiphy
"Smashing the birthday person's head into the cake. Seriously makes me angry cause first of all, what a waste of cake, and second of all what if that person got hurt." - AceButNotAtLove
"Couples smashing wedding cake all over each other's faces after spending all that money on an expensive cake, dress, tux, getting makeup and hair done only to get it ruined by cake." - Rapunzel111
Diamonds Are Disastershappy snow white GIFGiphy
"Diamond engagement rings."
"Campaigns like "a diamond is forever" contributed to the notion that a diamond is the perfect representation of an indestructible love and marriage. We've been told that an engagement ring should cost a minimum of two months salary. Much like a new car, a diamond is devalued as soon as it leaves the store."
"The diamond trade is an 81 billion dollar industry, fraught with slave labor, violence and corruption. The mining of diamonds has a negative environmental impact, causing soil erosion and deforestation. Science has enabled us to create gems in a lab with a composition identical to naturally formed gems for a fraction of the price."
"The stigma remains, however, that those who would choose a cubic zirconium or other lab-created engagement ring are cheap, or even deceitful if they choose not to disclose that it wasn't mined."
"This needs to change. There are numerous options for those who still wish for a ring as a representation of their eternal love."
"In addition to lab-created diamonds and gems, there is the option to purchase a pre-owned or vintage ring. Already, there are companies capitalizing on this niche, but still overcharging for their product."
"There are many avenues creative consumers can pursue to circumvent this, ranging from consumer to consumer platforms, antique stores, and pawnshops, to local artisans. Given that the tradition of buying and wearing engagement and wedding rings will likely remain, it's time to consider ethical, environmentally friendly options to perpetuating the diamond trade." - CouldBeUrMom
I Don't Need A Blessinghoney boo boo sneezing GIFGiphy
"Blessing people who sneeze."
"After one sneeze , while working toward a second, I'm required to somehow reply "thank you" to the person or persons who blessed me."
"And after the second sneeze, reply again."
"It is just sneezing. It is allergies or my nose trying to expel something that doesn't belong (such as pepper or dust.)"
"I don't need a blessing. I sneeze. I cover my face. Let me be." - ranouttanameideas
What "traditions" are you just over?