I have a preference for eating sweets before a main savoury. Are there any cooking traditions where this is the norm? Secondly, why has the tradition of having a main savoury followed by sweets arisen? Why not the other way around?
Its pretty common in indian culture to eat sweets before eating savory stuff,
Note (jefromi) I've edited this to fix the English as best I can, guessing at the meaning of some parts. A few bits I couldn't really tell what was meant, and just left intact - those are marked with a ⁺.
Sweets were (a long time ago) very expensive, as sugar was. People never finished their meals with sweets, unless they were very rich or it was a an important holiday to celebrate with a special and expensive food.
Normal people ate sweets (if they were lucky) on Sunday. Otherwise, at Christmas, Easter and a few other anniversaries. On other "normal" days "normal people" ate soups seasoned, if it at all, with lard and a few other herbal ingredients. "Normal people" ate meat once a week, mostly chicken, and found the protein, mostly in legumes and cereals.
So I do not think the practice of eating sweets (not even across the entire western world) could have become a tradition. I think if anything, that an average life of a poor person has led to favoring poor food, and other hearty foods rich but unhealthy⁺. As if to say: "First we fill the belly, then later there will be little room for the sweets."
Finally, in India they cannot eat meat (at least the common people). That refer back with sweets is completely understandable.⁺
If we start with poor food, then when time for sweets comes, we are not so hungry, and have little room space for an expensive food.
If they may not, such as in India, eat meat, then maybe they prefer start from any few they have.⁺
I don't know other examples, and don't see any examples besides India, that have historical reasons.⁺
Historical reasons become tradition.
We had honey from before roman times.
"Only after the Crusades did it begin to rival honey as a sweetener in Europe.... The Spanish began cultivating sugarcane in the West Indies in 1506 (and in Cuba in 1523). The Portuguese first cultivated sugarcane in Brazil in 1532. ...Regardless of which century table sugar production was discovered, it was a luxury in much of the world until the 18th century. ... In the 18th century, the demand for table sugar boomed in Europe, and by the 19th century it had become a human necessity... Beginning in the late 18th century, the production of sugar became increasingly mechanized....During the same century, Europeans began experimenting with sugar production from other crops... However, the beet-sugar industry really took off during the Napoleonic Wars".