I've been thinking about this post for a while now, over four months, in fact. The word "tradition", like the word "family" has been nuked from orbit by right-wing authoritarians.
The American Heritage Dictionary (heritage is another word which has been "nuked from orbit") defines tradition as:
1. The passing down of elements of a culture from generation to generation, especially by oral communication.
2. A mode of thought or behavior followed by a people continuously from generation to generation; a custom or usage.
3. A set of such customs and usages viewed as a coherent body of precedents influencing the present: followed family tradition in dress and manners. See synonyms at heritage.
4. A body of unwritten religious precepts.
5. A time-honored practice or set of such practices.
6. Law. Transfer of property to another.
Given the fact that I like alliteration, I'd define tradition as "the sum of the practices, preferences, and prejudices that are passed down from generation to generation in any given culture." Some traditions, like eating sfingi on St Joseph's Day are great. Other traditions, like working to deny human rights to certain members of the population, are awful. Being multi-ethnic, I've always had the benefit of approaching tradition in "buffet" style- I can pick and choose which aspects of my heritage to play up at any given time. My advice is to embrace the aspects of one's culture that affirm life and liberty and to expunge those aspects which impinge on the ability of oneself and others to life a free and fulfilling life. In other words, "Inhale Einstein, Exhale Hitler"... eat the lefse, shun the lutefisk... leave the gun, take the cannoli... You get the picture, there are good and bad traditions. If Tevye had been singing about hating on the gays, would this song be a beloved classic of the musical theater?
Be wary of anyone who claims to be a traditionalist, a whole lot of stupid, bigoted nonsense is likely to follow such a proclamation. Of course, New Traditionalists are an entirely different matter.