Tradition in Like Water for Chocolate is, in many ways, the story's antagonist. Although Tita's mother is the person who primarily enforces the traditions, creating obstacles for Tita, it's the traditional view of the family and the customs of marriage themselves that are Tita's main forces to fight against.
The first tradition that seems quite unbreakable is the rule that Tita, as the youngest daughter, must never marry and is designated as the mother's caretaker for life. There is no conceivable way for Tita to rearrange her place in the family, and so this tradition seems to have dictated her fate before she was even born!
Religious traditions and beliefs are also of clear importance in the world of this story. The Catholic faith in this time and place holds strong significance and lays the foundation of societal expectations, especially in the realm of marriage and family. In the novel, defying religious tradition isn't just disrespectful to one's family—it is also a stain on one's own moral and spiritual makeup. The belief in the afterlife or the judgment of God brings in another layer of meaning for those who break rules which have been deemed to be the word of God.
The traditions of this time are rich and rigid and, therefore, rarely broken. This story explores the question, what if someone were to resist the traditions of their world and family?