Culture and Tradition

Every culture has its own traditions and customs, whether it is the food, the celebrations, the clothes, or the lifestyle. Over time, however, the meaning or significance behind the beliefs or traditions of a culture sometimes changes. Virtually all of the holidays that we celebrate today have their origins from a culture, of which, for the most part, people are completely unaware. For example, Mardi Gras is celebrated mainly in Southern Louisiana with extravagant costumes and parades, but it is based on a festival season that originated in Europe.

This assignment requires you to investigate the origins of a cultural tradition that is celebrated in the United States today. You may choose to look at a holiday tradition, or you may wish to focus on a lifestyle aspect of a culture, such as fashion and food. You must include a thesis statement that argues whether the tradition still represents the original or whether it has evolved into its own unique entity. Ultimately, has the meaning of the tradition changed and why does that change matter? Will it continue to change? For example, will celebrations be different in a post-Covid19 world?

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Your essay should:

Have a specific argument or point about the culture. You will include a thesis statement that clarifies this point.
Complete a thorough investigation of the cultural tradition through extensive research and explain in detail the significance to the culture. You must also reflect on the change in meaning, if any, in the United States.
Be a minimum of four (4) content pages with an additional Works Cited page.
Include a minimum of two scholarly sources. Scholarly sources include books, journal articles, or government documents, which can all be found in the Gator Library Databases (Links to an external site.)
Also include a popular culture source such as a song, TV show, film, short story, or novel.
Use at least one direct quote from two sources.
You may find it appropriate to use more quotes and/or to quote from additional sources. Please be careful to not rely too heavily on quotes because the majority fo the essay should be your words and analysis.
Your essay may use more than the required minimum of sources, and additional sources can include information found on credible websites. Please be mindful of the bias these sources might have with regard to the topic. You must still cite these sources using MLA format. Hint: ( Staff) is not a correct citation.
Should NOT be written using 2nd person(you)
1st person (I) with anecdotal evidence is acceptable in the introduction. The rest of the essay should be in 3rd
Have an original title (Not just “Essay 1”)
Your essay must follow MLA style guidelines, including the layout of the document, the use of in-text parenthetical citations, and a Works Cited page.

You will have your topic approved by the instructor. Do not use Jack O’ Lanterns since this is the topic of the example essay.

Topic Ideas (these are just examples– you do not have to pick one of these):

The importance of Easter eggs
Valentine’s Cards
A specific wedding tradition such as brides wearing white, a tiered cake, or rings
Flag ceremonies
A specific superstition such as throwing salt or knocking on wood
Secret Santa gift exchanges
There are two parts to this essay:

Part I is a discussion of the origins and significance of the cultural tradition, which is where you need to do some research in order to provide an accurate account; it should not exceed 50% of your essay.

Part II is a critical assessment of the differences between the original meaning/process of the tradition and how it is currently viewed in the United States. The following are some questions that you may or may not want to consider in your response, but please note that your essay should not be simply a list of answers to these questions:

Was it originally religious or secular?
What is it now? How does the original differ from the present and is one better or worse than the other? If so, why?
Does the specific time of year in which it occurs have any special relation to the four seasons and to other important days?
What are the costumes supposed to represent? What is their connection with the ancient tradition, if any?
What has been lost and what, if anything, has been gained when comparing the past with the present?
Has technology influenced the tradition?
How will the tradition continue to change?
Essay Organization:


The thesis statement should be the last sentence of the paragraph
Part I is a discussion of the origins and significance of the cultural tradition, which is where you need to do some research in order to provide an accurate account; it should not exceed 50% of your essay.

Body Paragraph 1 should start with a topic sentence about the history of the tradition.
Body Paragraph 2 should start with a topic sentence about the shift/change for the tradition that brings it to modern times.
Part II is a critical assessment of the differences between the original meaning/process of the tradition and how it is currently viewed in the United States.

Body Paragraph 3 should start with a topic sentence about the first point of evaluation.
Body Paragraph 4 should start with a topic sentence about the second point of evaluation.
Keep following this format as needed

Sum up the main point of evaluation.
Will the tradition keep changing? What should we learn from this tradition and its history?. For more information on Culture and Tradition visit: 

Culture and Tradition


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