Our rich and varied cultural heritage has a profound power to help build our nation – Nelson Mandela, (Political leader, Philanthropist).
In the above statement by Mr. Nelson Mandela, he emphasized the importance of cultural heritage and traditional values, and how they can help in building up a nation. I think many of you would agree with him on this. Cultural heritage is a powerful tool that can bring about great changes in society. Traditional values and heritage are a great inheritance that when passed along to the next generation, hold the ability to create a firm foundation for the upcoming society.
If you are keen to know about cultural heritage and traditional values, then this article is for you. Tag along till the end as we will be covering some of the great topics and information revolving around cultural heritage. But, first, let’s begin with the basics.
What is the meaning of cultural heritage?
Cultural heritage is anything related to the culture, i.e. values, languages, traditions, etc that speaks of the history and connects us to the past. Besides, It creates a sense of belonging and strengthens cultural ties between generations. Accordingly, cultural heritage and traditional values are the inheritance that flows from one generation to the next. Old folktales, skills, social practices, religious traditions, natural environment, etc are all part of cultural heritage. They are an integral part of society and are a gift from the previous generations.
In fact, the knowledge connects the communities together and gives a peak at the past through the information. Similarly, the wisdom that we receive from our ancestors is a way to show the present community how to live sustainably.
Cultural heritage is a wider concept that includes everything that gives evidence of human creativity. Heritage is anything that has cultural value. Evidently, cultural heritage is left by the previous generation for the next because it has the power to bring positive change in society. In the next topic, we will be discussing the types of heritage.
What are different types of Cultural Heritage? Does heritage restricted to material things only?
We have discussed earlier that cultural heritage and traditional values are passed down. It could be anything that has value and can show proof of human creativity. It includes physical and abstract heritage, some describe it as tangible and intangible heritage.
But, does heritage restricted to material things only? No, it isn’t. We know traditional values are part of cultural heritage. The wisdom that we inherited formed the basis of our society. It gave us a way to live life. Furthermore, there are things that we can’t see but comes under cultural inheritance and can be passed on like knowledge.
Let’s have a look at the types of heritage
The physical things work as evidence for us as it gives us an insight into the world of the previous generation. It not only reveals their way of living but also gives rise to various questions such as – who made it? What are the values and beliefs attached to them?
The things we inherited in physical form also called material things like Scriptures, Paintings, Monuments, Relics, etc come under the category of Physical heritage. It depicts our ancestor’s way of living.
The purpose of passing down Knowledge and wisdom was to guide people to live a better life. Customs show us the way to live life in peace and harmony with the land and animals, as flora and fauna are both integral parts of society. Knowledge, wisdom, customs, languages, dance forms, rituals, skills like craftsmanship (handwork), and social practices are all part of the abstract heritage.
Why is it essential for a family to pass on cultural heritage to kids?
Often we have heard our elders emphasizing the importance of culture and values. I am sure many of you must have wondered why it is essential to pass on cultural heritage to kids.
A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots – Marcus Garvey, (Jamaican political activist, publisher, and journalist).
Let’s broaden our understanding of cultural inheritance
Today, there are many different languages and customs in use and followed by the people. Wherever you go you will see something new. Whether you visit a new country, a city, or even a village, you will see fragments of the culture and tradition of their community.
The passing along of cultural heritage forms the base of the new community. It ensures that society maintains a harmonious relationship with nature’s other forces like vegetation and the animal world. The teaching that we receive from our ancestors in the form of cultural heritage binds the young generation with their roots and beliefs.
With the prevailing trend of modernization, cultural values are losing their significance in modern society. They are left to mere pages in the history books. People are losing the essence of living a harmonious life.
Do you know?
In China, during the Cultural Revolution, much damage was done to both the Chinese people and China’s traditional culture.
Temples were looted. Relics, temples, scrolls, and books containing vast amounts of cultural heritage were burned and destroyed under the red gaze of the Cultural Revolution.
What many people don’t know is that the Cultural Revolution in China, 1966-1976, was more than just a large campaign to instill Communist Party culture into the minds of the Chinese people and transform China from an agrarian society into a modern industrial society. It was more than just a revolt to overthrow the monarchy and establish an ultra-left party system in China.
A large part of the Culture Revolution’s agenda was also the destruction of traditional Chinese culture, or as it was officially called “Destruction of Four Olds Campaign.” Reference Nspirement
What role does Cultural Heritage & Traditional Values play in shaping society?
No nation can survive without passing its heritage, language, and, yes, faith to the next generation. A country must be built on something substantial and if the cultural elitists think it can be built on ‘diversity,’ that is a foundation of shifting sand — Cal Thomas, (columnist, author, and radio commentator).
It is rightly said that a nation can’t survive without passing its cultural heritage to the coming generation. Do you know why? It is because these are the foundation on which the survival of a society depends. We are all different but what brings us all together is our cultural heritage and values.
Human society constantly engages in selecting what is worthy of preservation for future generations. Art in any form that has cultural significance can be displayed in public places. As it educates people about its importance.
Statues were installed in public places. So, that the common public can admire the art and appreciate it.
Why people are drifting away from their cultural heritage?
We have already discussed the importance of cultural heritage. Why is it important to pass down cultural heritage?
But, it is also essential to talk about why people are drifting away from their cultural heritage & traditional values. Is it because of a lack of knowledge? Or because people are so involved in their lives that they simply forgot about it?
Let’s talk a little bit about the possible reasons why people are losing the essence of heritage.
The rapid emergence of nuclear families
On the one hand, we are advancing towards a better future, on the other, we are losing the touch with our culture and traditions.
People migrate to cities in search of better opportunities and life. They leave the countryside in the hope of returning one day back to their native place. Moreover, they get busy with city life and slowly & steadily drift away from the roots of the joint family.
Earlier, a joint family was the base on which family values were established. It made sure that members inherit knowledge and wisdom from their elders. But with the growth of nuclear families, people couldn’t stay in touch with their elders, hence restricting the transfer of knowledge and values.
People’s tendency of attaching everything to scientific theories
Well, earlier people followed the elderly teachings for some reasons. They believed in the essence of the sayings and it was easier for people to have faith in the culture, tradition, and knowledge passed down by the elderly. Now people easily attach scientific knowledge and theories to everything.
One of the main reasons for people not following cultural values is the lack of belief in them. They relate everything to science and close their eyes to what the teachings said.
Across border travel
In recent years, the large movement of people from one country to another has increased rapidly. People are traveling to different corners of the world and are making different countries their new homes.
This results in the mixing up of native traditions with that of the host country resulting in losing the actual culture. Additionally, there are things that need to be done a certain way but are getting mixed & lost with others. The old traditions and rituals are getting replaced by modern ones.
Overall, cultural heritage works as a guiding force for a harmonious society. Basically, the significance of traditional values in our life is huge. Cultural heritage is valuable. We should respect it because it makes us who we are. It gives us our identity and shapes humanity. Furthermore, we need to make deliberate efforts to ensure that our children understand and appreciate what our ancestors left for us. Lastly, it is a treasure for a lifetime.
A concerted effort to preserve our heritage is a vital link to our cultural, educational, aesthetic, inspirational, and economic legacies – all of the things that quite literally make us who we are – Steve Berry (author and attorney).