Social customs may also be classified into (i) folk, and (ii) popular. Folk customs are also known as vernacular customs which are traditionally practiced primarily by small, homogenous rural groups. Folk culture may be defined as the collective heritage of institutions, customs, skills, dress, and way of life of a small, stable, closely knit, usually rural community. Tradition controls folk culture and resistance to change is strong. The home-made and hand-made dominate in tools, music, story and ritual. Houses are constructed with a purpose.
Contrary to this, the popular customs (material culture), also known as international customs, are found in large, heterogeneous societies that share certain habits despite differences in other personal characteristics The folk customs develop as a result of particular physical, social and economic characteristics experienced by the group, while the popular customs are based on the ease of interaction in the world, because of rapid means of communications and transportation. With the increasing trend of urbanization and development of satellite communication, the folk customs are threatened and their survival is in danger. Moreover, popular customs may be less likely to reflect specific physical landscape yet more likely to modify physical landscapes in accordance with international values. The spatial distribution of customs is very complex. In general, the popular customs are more widely distributed, while the folk customs remain confined to a narrow territory.
Folk customs most frequently originate from an anonymous source, with the date of origin, as well as the originator, unknown. The origin of popular customs differs from that of folk customs. Popular customs are a product of the industrialized countries, especially the countries of Western Europe, USA and Japan. They arise from a combination of industrial technology and increased leisure time. Industrial technology has permitted the creation of objects that can be reproduced uniformly in large quantities.
Many of these objects have been designed to help people enjoy their leisure time that has increased as a result of change from predominantly agricultural to office and factory jobs.