I am wondering what "a big tradition" means in the following sentences:
‘Survival?’ Hannah turns to him.
‘This game we used to play at school,’ Femi explains.
Duncan’s wife Georgina chips in: ‘Oh God. Duncan’s told me stories about it. Really awful stuff. He told me about boys being taken out of their beds at night, left in the middle of nowhere—’
‘Yeah, that’s what happened,’ Femi says. ‘They’d kidnap a younger boy from his bed and take him as far as they could away from the school, deep into the grounds.’
‘And we’re talking big grounds,’ Angus says. ‘And the middle of nowhere. Pitch-black. No light from anything.’
‘It sounds barbaric,’ Hannah says, her eyes wide.
‘It was a big tradition,’ Duncan says. ‘They’d been doing it for hundreds of years, since the start of the school.’
- Lucy Foley, The Guest List, Chapter 15
The speakers are at the rehearsal dinner the day before the wedding between Jules and Will. The ushers all went to the same public school as Will, and they are now remembering the game they used to play, which is called "Survival." (The narrator here is Johnno.)
In this part, I am wondering what "a big tradition" would mean here.
Would that mean "a long tradition"? Or, "a popular tradition"...?