Missionaries of old entered a culture and tried to convert them not only to their faith, but also to their way of life, introducing the suit and tie, translated hymns (that don’t rhyme or sound right by the way) and tea time! Since then missionaries have tried to become more mindful in differentiating between what the bible actually teaches and what is simply a matter of culture. It’s not as simple as it sounds!
Some traditions, though originating in superstitious roots, have become something completely of their own. It reminds me of debates we use to have about Halloween. Christmas is celebrated on a day that was originally a pagan celebration. Does the origin matter? Or not? Is it wrong to celebrate something on the same day as another celebration? While other customs are neither harmful nor helpful.
There are sins that the bible speaks very clearly and openly about. There are issues that we could call, “salvation issues” but then there is a whole area that we are left to wonder.
We face many strange customs and traditions all the time living in such a different culture. We constantly need to have God give us direction as to which ones to confront and which to not worry about.
Some different traditions or customs are:
Women staying in bed 40 days after giving birth: considered necessary to not have a sore back later on in life.
Not cutting a child’s hair until they begin to speak: otherwise speaking will be delayed
Not walking into a room where chowder soups are being made… they won’t thicken!
Don’t blow on your pencil sharpener or it won’t be sharp anymore.
The day of the dead: believers and non-believers take flowers to the tombs of loved ones; traditionally people left food for the dead to eat!
If a drunk looks at your child they will become sick.
Scabies (small insects that live under the skin) are cured by eating a bit of rat.
If you hold your hands in an ant hill your handwriting will be nice.
If you are a lazy person and you hold your hands in an ant hill you will become hard working.