Studying Cultures Today, Yesterday, and Long Ago
Cultural anthropologists study present cultures. Some also study cultures in the recent past using what people remember and have recorded.

What we call "culture" is everything that makes up the way a group of people live. It includes their beliefs, values, and traditions.

Culture is usually passed down from one generation to the next. For example, how does your family celebrate holidays? Maybe there's a special food or prayer that's been passed down by your grandparents and great-grandparents. Or your family might have a holiday game you play every year. Culture is also always changing. For example, can you think of a new holiday food or custom in your family?

It would be a huge job to study everything about one culture. So an anthropologist usually focuses on just one part of a culture. For example, how do people in a Malaysian village celebrate the birth of a baby? What is life like for Ghanaian immigrants in New York City? How do Americans act at sporting events — do they act differently than they do in everyday life?

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