Comprehensive Guide to Custom

A custom is a habitual way of acting that is established by the repetition of the same acts or by tradition. It is, therefore, a habit.

For example: “The customs of this town are strange to us: businesses close in the afternoon and reopen at dawn”, “My grandfather has a habit of having tea before going to bed”, “Going to the pub after office is part of the British customs that are being lost”.

Customs are part of the culture of a people.

A shared social practice

According to, the custom is a social practice with roots among most of the members of a community. It is possible to differentiate between good customs (approved by society) and bad customs (considered negative). In certain cases, the laws try to modify the behaviors that suppose a bad habit.

The usual thing is that the laws agree with the customs of the society. Customs, in fact, can constitute a source of law, whether applied prior to or simultaneously with the law.

Customs according to sociology

For sociology, customs are components of culture that are transmitted from generation to generation and are therefore related to the adaptation of the individual to the social group.

There are different types of social considerations regarding customs. In Argentina, for example, drinking mate is a custom. A person who does not like mate, however, is not criticized or censored socially. Different would be the case of the subject who has breakfast and snack with liquor or gin: although it is not illegal, the conduct would receive social condemnation.

Certain customs can be dangerous and produce different types of damage.

Traditions that hurt

This concept, as well as that of tradition, should be taken with care. On many occasions it has been used to justify harmful attitudes and to prevent different organizations from doing anything to prevent such acts, arguing that we should not lose the essence of our land. Below we present a series of socially accepted customs that generate an impact on the environment and on the life of animals:

*Fireworks and pyrotechnic entertainment: During Christmas and important holidays in many parts of the world, fireworks become protagonists. It is an ancient custom that is maintained, despite the fact that the gases that these “toys” eliminate are known to harm the ecosystem, beyond the fact that they can be extremely dangerous for those who are close to those who use them.

* Burning garbage in patios: It is another custom that is carried out in many cities and towns and that can be extremely harmful to the environment. In this act, harmful gases are eliminated that increase the impact of our actions on the planet.

* Watering the street: Although since ancient times in each neighborhood there is a person who goes out with his hose to water the asphalt, this act is disastrous for the ecology. The amount of water that is wasted in each irrigation could be used for more efficient purposes than watering the street because it is hot.

*Bullfights: Despite the fact that in some countries it is argued that it is impossible to get rid of this satirical entertainment, proven samples have been given of how much these animals suffer and how terrible it is that this series of practices continue to be carried out at a time in which information reaches all corners. The certainty that animals have a way of feeling very similar to ours should be reason enough to abandon this type of customs ; however, it is not the only one. Livestock breeding is one of the activities that most damages the ecology and that increases global warming abysmally.


About the author