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Why Traditional Crafts Are Vanishing

          It is quite sad that some of the traditional crafts around the world are slowly vanishing.  The sad plight of these crafts can be attributed to changing tastes and preferences of people, adaptation of culture and lifestyle from other countries, lack of skilled people to teach and continue the tradition, apathy of younger generations towards craftsmanship in general, lack of government support, and the influx of technology. Let us discuss these reasons one by one.

Why Traditional Crafts Are Vanishing

Apathy towards the Crafts

          It cannot be denied that younger generations are totally indifferent when it comes to preserving the rich cultural traditions of their respective communities.  This is because they have other things to be busy with such as gaining more financially secured employment.  Today’s generation believe that working with traditional crafts will not help them feed their families.  Besides, why should they continue with traditional skill when nobody is buying or using these traditional products at this time?

Lack of Skilled People to Continue the Tradition

          Because of the indifference, skilled craftsmen have dwindled in numbers. Lack of patronage has led crafts enthusiasts to search for better opportunities without passing the knowledge to new generations.  In addition, people are no longer interested with tradition as they have adapted to new lifestyle and products.  Thus, the process of making these crafts is already buried.

Changing Tastes Preferences and Adaptation

          Globalization has opened countries around the world to commerce and trade. More people are adapting to modern ways of living; patronizing commercial products; and developing more sophisticated tastes.  For example, the “jusi barong tagalog” in the Philippines are worn during important occasions like weddings; whereas, before it used to be a daily affair among Filipino men.  Citizens around the world are more concerned with adapting to the latest trends, craze, and fads.

Lack of Government Support

          Government is also part of the blame.  They do not offer enticing and appropriate motivation by means of policies, tax incentives, and financial support.  When these factors are absent, people are not encouraged to support and patronize their own traditional crafts.  Governments should create a program that will help preserve traditional products so that it will continue to benefit everyone including the actual craftsmen, the community, and consumers as well.  It is the duty of the government to preserve its own heritage and traditional crafts is part of this. 

Influx of Technology

          Modern methods of production and manufacturing led to the development of better materials for products that we use every day including computers other gadgets. These new technologies replaced traditional crafts.  These conventional products were relegated in the background and only pop up during community festivals. 

          It is never too late.  Traditional crafts can still be preserved.  These are concrete evidences of a nation’s history.  It is an identity that should remain sacred despite modernism.  Everyone has to be involved, not just the government.  People should change their personal attitudes towards tradition and extend support as well as show patronage for long-established crafts to prevent them from being completely forgotten. 

Contributed by:  Alden I. Bula

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