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Tradition is the first song from Fiddler on the Roof. It talks about the traditions of the Orthodox Jewish community of Anatevka. It is sung by Tevye.

LyricsEdit

The lyrics to the song are written below.

Tevye (spoken) A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? But in our little village of Anatevka, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof, trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn't easy. You may ask, why do we stay up there if it's so dangerous? We stay because Anatevka is our home... And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in one word... Tradition.
Chorus Tradition, tradition... tradition

Tradition, tradition... tradition

Tevye (spoken) Because of our traditions, we've kept our balance for many, many years. Here in Anatevka we have traditions for everything... how to eat, how to sleep, even, how to wear clothes. For instance, we always keep our heads covered and always wear a little prayer shawl... This shows our constant devotion to God. You may ask, how did this tradition start? I'll tell you - I don't know. But it's a tradition... Because of our traditions, everyone knows who he is and what God expects him to do.
Tevye & Papas Who day and night

Must scramble for a living

Feed the wife and children

Say his daily prayers

And who has the right

As master of the house

To have the final word at home?

All The papa, the papas... tradition

The papa, the papas... tradition

Golde & Mamas Who must know the way to make a proper home

A quiet home, a kosher home

Who must raise a family and run the home

So papa's free to read the holy book?

All The mama, the mama... tradition

The mama, the mama... tradition

Sons At three I started Hebrew school

At ten I learned a trade

I hear they picked a bride for me

I hope... she's pretty

All The sons, the sons... tradition

The sons, the sons... tradition

Daughters And who does mama teach

To mend and tend and fix

Preparing me to marry

Whoever papa picks?

All The daughters, the daughters... tradition
Tevye (spoken) I have five daughters!
All The daughters, the daughters... tradition
Repeat sections above as round
Papas The papas
Mamas The mamas
Sons The sons
Daughters The daughters
All Tradition
Repeat once
Tevye (spoken) And in the circle of our little village, we have always had our special types. For instance, Yente, the matchmaker...
Yente (spoken) Avram, I have a perfect match for your son. A wonderful girl.
Avram (spoken) Who is it?
Yente (spoken) Ruchel, the shoemaker's daughter.
Avram (spoken) Ruchel? But she can hardly see. She's almost blind.
Yente (spoken) Tell the truth, Avram, is your son so much to look at? The way she sees and the way he looks, it's a perfect match.
Tevye (spoken) And Reb Nachum, the beggar...
Beggar (spoken) Alms for the poor, alms for the poor...
Lazar (spoken) Here, Reb Nachum, is one kopek.
Beggar (spoken) One kopek? Last week you geve me two kopeks.
Lazar (spoken) I had a bad week.
Beggar (spoken) So, if you had a bad week, why should I suffer?
Tevye (spoken) And most important, our beloved Rabbi...
Mendel (spoken) Rabbi, may I ask you a question?
Rabbi(spoken) Certainly, my son.
Mendel (spoken) Is there a proper blessing for the Tsar?
Rabbi (spoken) A blessing for the tsar? Of course. May God bless and keep the Tsar... far away from us!
Tevye (spoken) And among ourselves, we get along perfectly well. Of course, there was the time when he sold him a horse, but delivered a mule, but that's all settled now. Now we live in simple peace and harmony and...
1st Man (spoken) It was a horse.
2nd Man (spoken) It was a mule.
Tevye (whispeing) It was a mule.
Chorus Horse!

Mule!

Horse!

Mule!


Tradition, tradition... tradition

Tradition, tradition... tradition

Tevye (spoken) Tradition. Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as... as a fiddler on the roof!

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