November 10th: Tradition Day in Argentina

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Tradition Day is celebrated in Argentina in commemoration of the birth of the writer and journalist José Hernández, on November 10, 1834, who composed El Gaucho Martín Fierro, a lyrical work that occupies the summit of gaucho literature. This day is a good opportunity to reflect on traditions and their changes over time. Therefore, we share some reflections of Leonor Acuña, professor and researcher at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) about tradition:

What do we call tradition?
- For us, the word tradition refers to both the private and the public world, since Tradition Day refers us, since we were children, to commemorations and acts of valuation of José Hernández's work and its representation for our nationality.

In the term tradition we gather the customs, habits and practices that are transmitted among the members of a community. That is to say that a group of people who feel represented and identified by a practice or a custom they share decide to preserve and transmit it.

Families, friends, fellow students, fellow travelers, fellow workers create and maintain traditions that help define them and give them cohesion: holidays, dates, meals, commemorations, dress, music.

How can we rethink the concept of tradition in these times?

- It is interesting to see how language shapes and dismantles meanings. Tradition, as a noun, is for the community something positive, and generally festive, but the adjective traditional usually has a charge of conservatism that is socially associated with customs of the past, rigid, many times, and unattractive to the youngest.

There are political management actions that define traditions, such as the case of declaring November 10 as Tradition Day -the date of José Hernández's birth- and thus making gaucho customs our common past for the whole country.


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