(ii) Customs Constitute the Treasury of Our Social Heritage:
Customs preserve our culture and transmit it to the succeeding generations. They have added stability and certainty to our social life. They bring people together and develop social relationships among them. They provide for a feeling of security in human society.
People normally obey them for their violation is always condemned and resisted. The children learn the language spoken, and the occupation followed by their parents through the customs. The imprint of custom can be found on various activities of the members of society.
(iii) Customs are Basic to Our Collective Life:
Customs are found in all the communities of the world. They are more influential and dominant in the primitive society than in the modern industrial society. Still no society can do without them. Customs are mercilessly imposed on the people in the primitive societies. As Malinowski writes in the context of the study of Trobriand Islanders that “a strict adherence to customs….is the main rule of conduct among our natives…” In the traditional societies customs are like sacred objects and their violation cannot be thought of.
Customs are so dominant and powerful that they can be called the “King of man”. Shakespeare called it a “tyrant”. Bacon considered it “the principal magistrate of man’s life”. People follow customs not just because they are traditionally enforced but very much because they are mixed with people’s sentiments, feelings and personal obligations.
(iv) Customs Support Law:
Customs also provide the solid ground for the formulation and establishment of law. Customs become laws when the state enforces them as rules binding on citizens. Law divorced from custom is bound to become artificial. Such laws may often end in failures, as it has happened in the case of ‘prohibition’ in U.S.A. Customs consolidate law and facilitate its practice. If the laws are not supported by customs, they cannot succeed.
It is to be noted that in the modern complex society customs are not enough to control the behaviour of the people. Hence they are supplemented with various formal means of social control.