Many of the traditions which we think of as very ancient in their origins were not in fact sanctioned by long usage over the centuries, but were invented comparatively recently. This book explores examples of this process of invention – the creation of Welsh and Scottish 'national culture'; the elaboration of British royal rituals in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; the origins of imperial rituals in British India and Africa; and the attempts by radical movements to develop counter-traditions of their own. It addresses the complex interaction of past and present, bringing together historians and anthropologists in a fascinating study of ritual and symbolism which poses new questions for the understanding of our history.
1. Introduction: inventing traditions Eric Hobsbawm; 2. The invention of tradition: the Highland tradition of Scotland Hugh Trevor Roper; 3. From a death to a view: the hunt for the Welsh past in the Romantic period Prys Morgan; 4. The context, performance and meaning of ritual: the British Monarchy and the invention of tradition, c.1820–1977 David Cannadine; 5. Representing authority of tradition in Victorian India Bernard S. Cohen; 6. The invention of tradition in Colonial Africa Terence Ranger; 7. Mass-producing traditions: Europe, 1870–1914 Eric Hobsbawm.