You know what different traditions your particular church has. You probably enjoy some of them, tolerate many of them, and despise a few of them. You may know where they came from or have no idea how they started. One thing is for sure, if you challenge some of them (like the kids' Easter Egg Hunt), the result may not be a pretty sight.
What does the bible have to say about tradition? Three N.T. passages deal with this very issue. All three employ the Greek word "paradosis," which is translated "tradition."
Matthew 15:1-6 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat." He answered them, "And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.' But you say, 'If anyone tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is given to God, he need not honor his father.' So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.
Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
II Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.
(In the above three passages, I italicized the word tradition).
In the Matthew 15 passage, Jesus is once again dealing with the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. The Pharisees are upset because Jesus' disciples are not following "the tradition of the elders." In other words, the disciples were rejecting man-made traditions as being unnecessary. Jesus, then, turns the tables on the Pharisees by telling them that they have "broken the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition." The Pharisees had given approval when people had not supported their parents financially and had blamed this on their need to give money instead to God. So in this case, the traditions are clearly shown in a negative light.
Paul, in Colossians 2:8, warns the readers about false teachings that could take them captive "according to human tradition." Paul goes on to indicate that this human tradition is not "according to Christ." One of the primary reasons Paul wrote this specific letter was to assist the Colossian believers in fending off false teachings. Paul clearly speaks of tradition here in a negative light, as he contrasts it with the teachings of Jesus himself.
Finally, in II Thessalonians 3:6, we see Paul forcefully commanding the readers to keep away from any brother who is "not in accord with the tradition that you received from us." So in this verse, Paul wants the Christians in Thessalonica to avoid those who are not in agreement with what Paul had taught them. Paul had taught them truths about following Christ, which were based on the O.T. In II Thessalonians 3:6, tradition is written about in a positive light.
So what is going on here? In the first two passages, tradition is seen negatively. However, in II Thessalonians it is spoken of positively. Is there a contradiction here?
There is no contradiction because scripture cannot contradict itself. If we just take a look at what is being written about, it is very clear what is happening. In both Matthew and Colossians, what is being referred to is man-made traditions. In Colossians, those traditions are even contradicting scripture. However, in II Thessalonians Paul is referring to his prior teachings, which are all in perfect harmony with the Old Testament.
What can we learn from this? First, when traditions are man-made, we should have freedom to not follow them. Second, when traditions contradict scripture, we must break them. Third, when traditions are scriptural, we should follow them.
How does this apply to the church today? As we look at the local churches where we attend and serve, we ought to analyze the traditions to see how they compare to scripture. My guess is that most church traditions are man-made, but do not violate the bible. Since this is the case, we have freedom as to whether or not to follow them. I will say, however, that we should look at our motives when we intend to break church traditions. If we are doing so just to prove a point, and what we are doing will just cause turmoil within the body, then we may be better off following the traditions anyway.
If we see a church tradition that violates scripture, we ought to break it. When this happens, we must explain to our brothers and sisters in Christ why we are doing this.
If a church tradition is scriptural, then we should continue with it. I see no problem there.