Social conservatives love this word; preservation is fundamental to it's nature. Tradition, simply put, is the continuation of social practices over an extended period of time. It may be over generations but it could also just be year to year. Many workplaces develop traditions, as can families and groups of friends. A tradition often serves a social or mnemonic function, and they can allow events that we remember fondly to extend into the present beyond the capability of a cherished memory. Traditions can be a living history of the better parts of your life, or a living continuation of the lives and achievements of previous generations.
Tradition however is also used as an excuse to preserve privilege; which highlights the greatest flaw of tradition: it cannot justify itself. Tradition employed for it's own sake is only to do so because it was always done so; ignorant of refinement, ignorant of progress, ignorant of learning and development. If anything, traditions should be challenged each time they are observed to ensure that they still bring meaning and benefit to our lives — however ephemeral or insubstantial that benefit may seem.
We shouldn't allow tradition to perpetuate oppression or suffering in the name of history or culture and it should always bow to our more progressive sense of ethics. At best, to allow tradition to become self-serving is to stagnate and at worst it brings real suffering to the world. Further still we should be vigilant of tradition being used as the distraction that covers for a poor argument. If tradition cannot self-justify then it certainly should not be allowed to justify one man's opposition to another man's rights.