Talking about the customs and traditions of the United States is not easy. It is a gigantic country in which many cultures coexist and each of them has its own own traditions. For example, there is a strong chinese community that preserves its festivities and celebrations. We can tell you the same about the natives of Italy, Ireland, Latin America or Africa.
However, it is also true that, over the more than two hundred years that the country has, a series of Common American customs and traditions to all its inhabitants. If you want to know them, we encourage you to continue reading.
Table of Contents
- 1 American Customs and Traditions: Christmas to Thanksgiving
- 1.1 The Thanksgiving
- 1.2 Independence Day
- 1.3 St. Patrick's day
- 1.4 Christmas
- 1.5 Halloween, one of the most widespread customs and traditions of the United States in the world
- 1.6 Spring Break and other American customs linked to the student world
- 1.7 Memorial Day
- 1.8 April Fool's Day
Although we could follow a chronological order, we find it more interesting to tell you about the customs and traditions of the United States, starting with the most important. That is, regardless of their ordering by dates in the year. For this reason, we will start with what is perhaps the most relevant, even if it is held in November.
Indeed, probably the quintessential North American tradition is that of Thanksgiving. And we say North American because it is also celebrated in Canada country whose customs already we dedicate a post on our blog.
Occurs the fourth Thursday of November and originally it was a day dedicated to thanking the previous year's harvest. All cultures have had similar celebrations. In many they continue to be commemorated, but in no way as strongly as in the American one.
In North American lands, the festival originated in 1623 in Plymouth, current state of Massachusetts, when natives and settlers shared their food. However, the anniversary was not celebrated again until 1660. However, this information that we have just provided is subject to controversy, since other historians place the first Thanksgiving celebration in Saint Augustine, Florida, and in 1565.
In any case, this day of appreciation has been established as the most important tradition in the United States. Throughout the country they are celebrated parades, but the highlight of the event takes place in the family dinners that night.
In every home in the country, families gather for dinner. Before starting to eat, a prayer is said to thank the blessings received that year and then a hearty menu is tasted.
Each area of the country has its peculiarities, but the main element of that menu is the turkey. So much so that, in a humorous tone, Thanksgiving is referred to as Turkey day or "turkey day."
Generally, it is prepared roasted and accompanied with a blueberry sauce. As a garnish it has mashed potatoes and the so-called green bean casserole, a vegetarian dish made with fried onion, green beans and mushroom cream.
Finally, Thanksgiving dinner is topped with sweet potato pie, blackberry or pumpkin pie, or apple treats.
More modern is the add-on added to Thanksgiving Day. We talk to you about Black Friday, which takes place immediately afterwards. Black Friday is the time they start Christmas shopping and large retail chains apply interesting offers to their products. As you know, lately this day has also come to our country.
It is another of the customs and traditions of the United States that is most ingrained among the inhabitants of the country. As its name suggests, it recalls the United States declaration of independence which was made public on July 4, 1776.
That day, the thirteen British colonies definitively separated themselves from English sovereignty, although they still had to face a war to achieve it. In any case, Independence Day is one of the oldest festivals in the country, since it was declared a national holiday in 1870.
Parades, baseball games, fireworks, and many other commemorative events are held throughout the United States in the midst of the patriotic exaltation of the citizen.
St. Patrick's day
Previously, we talked to you about the amalgam of cultures that have made up the United States. Among them, one of the most numerous is the irish. There were many inhabitants of the British island who emigrated to the North American country. Currently, it is estimated that more than 36 million citizens of Irish origin form part of this.
All this is relevant because we are going to talk to you about a festival originating in the European nation: the Saint Patrick's day. However, it has already been assumed by the culture of the United States as one of its most important and popular customs.
In fact, the first memorial parade of the saint in America was held the March 17 of 1762 in New York. That is, before the United States was an independent nation. Currently, each year and on that date, the country is dyed green, the typical color of Ireland and there are parades through all the cities and towns of the United States. Not missing in the celebration Beer, a drink as typical in North America as in the European country.
The Christmas holidays are celebrated throughout the Western world. And the United States was not going to be an exception. In fact, for Americans it is a very important holiday. For them, it includes events common to other countries such as Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas lunch, but also other peculiar and indigenous customs.
Among the latter, the ostentatious decoration of their houses with lights, the tradition of leaving socks to Santa Claus for him to leave his gifts or mistletoe custom o Mistletoe. It consists in that, every time a couple gets under it, they have to kiss and pick a fruit.
Halloween, one of the most widespread customs and traditions of the United States in the world
Halloween is not an American holiday. Historians place its origin in the Samhain of the Celts. This pagan rite commemorated the end of the harvest in that ancient culture and took place on October 31.
It has nothing to do with the harvesting of the fruits on Halloween today, although it continues to be celebrated on the same day. The fact is that, for centuries, in North American territory they carve pumpkins which are then illuminated with a terrifying appearance, the little ones dress up as witches or other mysterious characters and the houses are decked out.
But perhaps the most typical tradition is the one with the trick or treat, with the children visiting the houses in their neighborhood to ask for sweets. In case of not receiving them, they play a little joke on their inhabitants. Curiously, without knowing very well why, a celebration of European origin that had almost been forgotten in the Old Continent, survived in America and has now returned to our lands with great success.
Spring Break and other American customs linked to the student world
Many of the most popular customs and traditions in the United States have to do with the student world. Specifically, we will talk about two of them.
The first are spring break o spring break. For a week, in that season, the universities are closed leaving the students free, who usually travel to the hottest areas of the country to live some really crazy days. Surely you have seen many films that deal with the subject, but we will tell you that, for example, the coasts of florida they are filled with young people willing to enjoy the party.
For its part, the second tradition is the Homecoming. Unlike the previous one, it is welcome to the university for new students. In this restart of the course, not only the teaching centers are adorned, but also parades through the cities and other types of events are held.
This custom has a much more solemn tone that we are going to explain to you. The Memorial Day o Memorial Day It takes place on the last Monday in May and pays tribute to the American soldiers who lost their lives in one of the wars in which the country intervened.
Originally, it was instituted to remember the soldiers killed during the Civil War or American Civil War. But, later, the tribute was extended to all the North Americans fallen in a warlike conflict.
April Fool's Day
Finally, we will tell you about this day that we could compare with our feast of the Holy Innocents. Its origin dates back to the desire of the ancient settlers to mock the English to show themselves as more intelligent than them.
Therefore, if you are in the United States on April 1, be careful, you are not going to be the victim of a joke. Curiously, the North American country is not the only one that celebrates it. It also takes place in Italy, France, Germany, Portugal or Brazil. It is even found in the tradition of our island of Minorca.
In conclusion, we have told you about the main customs and traditions of the United States. But the North American nation has many others. For example, him President's Day, which takes place on the third Monday in February and commemorates the birth of George Washington. Or, in sports, the NCAA March Madness, which brings together the main university basketball teams in a final phase followed by millions of people.