What is the difference between culture and heritage?

Heritage is what we inherit from our ancestors, like oral traditions and values, while culture is the set of beliefs and behaviors of a particular group in a particular place and time, like how people greet one another. Culture might change with time and movement.

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The difference between culture and heritage is a difference in spatial versus temporal qualities and in collective versus individual property.

Culture is the whole embodiment of the intellectual achievements of a group of people. This can include fashion, cuisine, art, music, religion, and so forth. It consists of tangible manifestations...

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The difference between culture and heritage is a difference in spatial versus temporal qualities and in collective versus individual property.

Culture is the whole embodiment of the intellectual achievements of a group of people. This can include fashion, cuisine, art, music, religion, and so forth. It consists of tangible manifestations of the national intellect and exists in space and is a representation of collective action.

Heritage is the legacy of culture. It also includes intellectual achievements like fashion, cuisine, art, music, and so forth, but it is the continuation of these achievements across generations to those who lay claim to it. It consists of the intangible memory of the national intellect and exists in time as a representation of individual inheritance.

Using France as an example, the ballet-héroïque—a unique type of opera—is part of French culture. As well, it forms part of the cultural legacy of France, or the intellectual achievements of the French nation inherited and continued by the French people; their heritage, in other words.

So too, for instance, is the baguette—a long, lean dough bread—part of the culture of France. The preparation and baking of baguettes is a cultural trait associated with the French people. When baked, it is a practice of culture occupying physical space. At other times, it is part of their heritage, occupying the space of memory.

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Heritage is the part of culture that is preserved and transmitted from generation to generation. The culture of a continent, a nation, or an individual is likely to contain a mixture of heritages.

The culture of the United States of America, for instance, draws on various heritages from around the world. The Founding Fathers were classically educated and deliberately used the Roman Republic as a model for the American Republic. When Washington DC was designed, the great public buildings were intended to resemble those of ancient Rome.

America is also strongly influenced by the Christian faith, particularly Puritanism, since some of its most prominent institutions were founded by Puritans. It is therefore fair to say that American culture contains elements from the heritage of Israel and of Rome, as well as many other heritages.

In the same way, an individual American, a product of American culture, is likely to have a mixture of heritages passed down by his or her ancestors. Many Americans have heritages that are Spanish, English, Scottish, Irish, Italian, German, Scandinavian, Jewish, Chinese, Korean or Native American. These heritages will influence such matters as the holidays they celebrate, the food that is eaten in their homes, and the way they teach their children. American culture is often described as a melting pot or a salad bowl, meaning that it is a mixture of heritages.

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The word heritage refers to something that comes to a person through birth. It is what we inherit from our ancestors and cannot change, from styles of art and types of music to memories of historical events and family values. For example, Italians have long valued bringing family together to share a meal. A person will Italian heritage has a connection to this value whether or not they practice this often in their everyday life.

The word culture is different because it refers to the set of behaviors and beliefs of a particular group in a particular time and place. For example, a defining characteristic of US culture is the belief that hard work will lead to success. Because of this belief, it is common for people in the US to work long hours, eat on the go, and only take a few days off a year in comparison to other countries.

To examine this difference in more detail, consider for example a girl who was born in the United States and whose parents were born in Italy. This girl has Italian heritage. Through birth, she has inherited a bond with her Italian ancestors and what their lives were like. However, she is growing up in the culture of the United States, which will be different than the culture her ancestors grew up in. Being raised by Italian parents, her culture will likely incorporate some of the behaviors that are unique to her Italian heritage, but it will also consist of new behaviors that are unique to what it's like to be young in the United States in her time period. Thus, culture can change with time, but our heritage stays the same.

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According to the Umass Amherst Center, heritage is defined as the "full range of our inherited traditions" which includes things like language, literature, style of dress, songs, and buildings. Heritage is not just about preserving old things. In fact, heritage includes ideas and memories, too. So, it is about preserving our shared past rather than just keeping specific items.

In contrast, according to Texas A&M University, culture has many different definitions. For some, culture refers to the "way of life" of a particular group of people. But it might also refer to the behaviors learned through socialization or the shared knowledge and experiences of a particular group in society. 

So, there is a key distinction to remember between these two concepts: heritage refers to the things that we inherit, while culture is about what we create.

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Heritage is what we inherit. It includes customs, language and values. Culture is what we live. It includes following our heritage and the day to day living of our country or locale. Culture evolves and changes, but our heritage is what came before.
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Culture refers to the daily living, attitudes, traditions, and norms of a society. One's cultural values can change over a lifetime as a person moves or participates in norms of a society in different places. Culture changes over time as technology and industry change.

Heritage is not capable of change. Heritage includes a set of ethnic traits you are born with or inherit. You can't change yourself from European to Hispanic or Asian. This is inside of you.

Culture is our outward display of our values and living attitudes, it often reflects heritage, but the two are not the same.

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An individual's heritage describes their lineage.  Who their ancestors were, where their ancestors came from, what the lives of their ancestors were like, how the lives of their ancetors led to where the individual is today, etc.  Folklore is an example of cultural heritage.

An individual's culture describes the social climate and traditions in which they were raised.  This can include cultural heritage in the form of beliefs and traditions, but what distinguishes culture from heritage is that culture decribes the now whereas heritage describes the then.  A whole variety of elements are included in a person's culture from langauge to religion to recreation to gender roles.

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