Within Christian circles there are a variety of uses of the word tradition. For many it encompasses only the external religious trappings of ceremony. For others it is the whole of the Christian message, for without the continued witness of the church, they say, there would be no Christianity today. Most people fall somewhere in between. This page may seem to be either an odd collection of stuff or core to the Christian message, depending on your perspective.

That there are variations in the calendars and ceremonies within Christendom is not new to our day, there was the Quartodeciman Controversy of the last half of the second century for example.  Difference in language and underlying culture have also shaped many traditions.  In the 1789 book of common prayer we find:

XXXIV. Of the Traditions of the Church.

It is not necessary that the Traditions and Ceremonies be in all places one, or utterly like; for at all times they have been divers, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men's manners, so that nothing be ordained against God's Word. Whosoever, through his private judgment, willingly and purposely, doth openly break the Traditions and Ceremonies of the Church, which be not repugnant to the Word of God, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, (that others may fear to do the like,) as he that offendeth against the common order of the Church, and hurteth the authority of the Magistrate, and woundeth the consciences of the weak


Every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish, Ceremonies or Rites of the Church ordained only by man's authority, so that all things be done to edifying.

This shows us that, as far a ceremony goes, there have long been differences. Indeed Anglicans generally claim that there were Anglican distinctives before the Anglican Church split with Rome during the Reformation.

I do not have a firm notion of where Church tradition ends and true Christianity begins. Finding that boundary is part of this exercise. Most all of the traditions covered here have educational value and it is easy to see why many developed, especially in their historical context. The more I look the murkier things get. Also the more weird stuff I find.