Cultural divergence is the tendency for cultures to become dissimilar over time. Originally, all human beings shared similar cultures, during the period when humans were primarily hunter/gatherers. With the invention of agriculture, different groups began to change. The cultural divergence occurred between the groups that adopted farming and those that remained hunter/gatherers.
Some examples of modern-day culturally divergent groups are:
Cultural Divergence Comparison
One of the most traditional examples of cultural divergence has occurred with the Dutch. Northern Dutch are overwhelmingly Protestant, while their neighbors to the South are Roman Catholic. In the Netherlands, this division is acknowledged by the colloquialism "below (or above) the great rivers," with the Rhine and Meuse rivers forming a natural boundary between these two groups. Northern Dutch are characterized as pragmatic and less exuberant in comparison to the Roman Catholic Dutch in the south.
Cultural divergence also occurs as the result of geographical separation. For example, the arrival of immigrant groups to the United States may at first attempt to keep much of their native culture. However, the separation and the immersion in a different culture over time will produced an amalgamation, where second or third generation immigrant groups may be experiencing cultural divergence in celebration of what are believed to be traditional ways, rituals and values.
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