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Customs and Traditions of the United States: Peculiarities of the Country

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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 traditions. For example, there is a strong chinese community which preserves its festivities and celebrations. We can tell you the same of those from Italy, Ireland, Latin America or Africa.

However, it is also true that throughout the more than two hundred years of the country’s existence, a series of Common Customs and Traditions in the United States to all its inhabitants. If you want to know them, we encourage you to continue reading.

Customs and Traditions of the United States: From Christmas to Thanksgiving

Although we can follow a chronological order, we find it more interesting to tell you about the habits and customs of the United States starting with The most important. In other words, whatever its classification 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.

The action of grace

A Thanksgiving dinner

A Thanksgiving dinner

Indeed, probably the American tradition par excellence is that of Thanksgiving. And we say North American because it is also celebrated in Canada, country to whose customs we have already dedicated an article on our blog.

takes place the fourth Thursday in November and originally it was a day for giving thanks for the previous year’s harvest. All cultures have had similar celebrations. In many they continue to be commemorated, but by no means as strongly as in the United States.

In North American lands, the festival originated in 1623 in Plymouth, present-day Massachusetts, where natives and settlers shared their food. However, the anniversary was not celebrated again until 1660. However, this information we have just provided is controversial, since other historians place the first celebration of Thanksgiving in Saint AugustinFlorida, and in 1565.

In any case, this day of gratitude has been enshrined as the most important tradition in the United States. Across the country they celebrate paradesbut the highlight of the birthday is at the family dinners that night.

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thanksgiving dinner

Families gather for dinner in every house in the country. Before starting to eat, a prayer is said to give thanks for the blessings received that year, then a powerful menu is tasted.

Each region of the country has its particularities, but the main element of this menu is Turkey. So much so that, in a humorous tone, Thanksgiving is called turkey day or “turkey day”.

Generally, it is prepared roasted and accompanied by a cranberry sauce. As a filling it has mashed potatoes and the so-called Green bean casserolea vegetarian dish made with fried onions, green beans and cream of mushroom soup.

Finally, Thanksgiving dinner is completed with sweet potato pie, blackberry or pumpkin pie, or apple candy.

More modern is the addition to Thanksgiving Day. We tell you about black friday, which takes place immediately afterwards. Black Friday is the time to start christmas shopping and large retail chains apply attractive offers to their products. As you know, lately this day has also come to our country.

independence day

Independence Day Parade

An Independence Day Parade

It is another of the customs and traditions of the United States that is most deeply rooted among the people of the country. As its name suggests, it reminds United States Declaration of Independence made public on July 4, 1776.

On that day, the thirteen British colonies definitively separated from English sovereignty, although they still had to face a war to achieve this. In any case, Independence Day is one of the oldest festivities in the country, since it was declared a national holiday in 1870.

Across the United States, parades, baseball games, fireworks, and many other commemorative events take place amid patriotic exaltation of the citizen.

Saint Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick's Day Parade

St. Patrick’s Day

Previously, we spoke to you about the amalgam of cultures that made up the United States. Among them, one of the most numerous is the irish. Many inhabitants of the British island have emigrated to the North American country. Currently, it is estimated that over 36 million citizens of Irish descent belong to it.

All this is relevant because we are going to tell you about a festival originating from the European nation: the St. 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.

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In fact, the first parade commemorating the saint in America was held the 17th of March of 1762 in New York. In other words, before the United States was an independent nation. Currently, each year and on this date, the country is dyed green, the typical color of Ireland and the parades live in all cities and towns of the United States. Don’t miss the party beerdrink as typical in North America as in the European country.


a santa claus

Santa Claus

Christmas holidays are celebrated throughout the western world. And the United States was not going to be an exception. In fact, for North Americans, it is a very important holiday. For them, these are events common to other countries such as New Year’s Eve dinner and Christmas lunchbut also other particular and indigenous customs.

Among the latter, the ostentatious decoration of their houses with lights, the tradition of leaving the socks to Santa Claus for him to leave his presents or the custom mistletoe That is Mistletoe. It consists in the fact that, each time a couple sets about it, they must kiss each other and take a piece of fruit.

Halloween, one of the most widespread customs and traditions of the United States in the world

trick or treat

halloween decoration

Halloween is not a typical holiday in the United States. Historians place its origin in Her hand of the Celts. This pagan rite commemorated the end of the harvest in this ancient culture and took place on October 31.

It has nothing to do with harvesting fruit on the current Halloween, although it continues to be celebrated on the same day. The fact is that, for centuries, North American territory has been carved out pumpkins which then light up with a terrifying appearance, the little ones dress up as witches or other mysterious characters and the houses are decorated.

But perhaps the most typical tradition is charity please, children visiting homes in their neighborhood to ask for candy. If they don’t receive them, they play a little prank on their inhabitants. Curiously, without really knowing why, a celebration of European origin that had been almost forgotten on the Old Continent, survived in America and has now returned to our lands with great success.

Spring Break and Other College-Related US Customs

Spring Break

A Florida beach during spring break

Many of the most popular customs and traditions in the United States are linked to the student world. Specifically, we will talk about two of them.

The first are Spring Break That is Spring Break. For a week in this season, universities are closed, leaving students free, who usually travel to the hottest parts of the country to experience a few really crazy days. Surely you have seen many films that deal with the subject, but we will tell you that, for example, Florida Coasts They are filled with young people eager to enjoy the party.

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For its part, the second tradition is the back home. Unlike the previous one, it is welcome to college for new students. In this restart of the course, not only the educational centers are decorated, but also parades are held through the cities and other types of events.

memorial day

Remembrance Day

Tribute to the dead

This custom has a much more solemn tone that we are going to explain to you. The memorial day That is Remembrance Day It takes place on the last Monday in May and pays tribute to American soldiers who lost their lives in one of the wars in which the country took part.

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 Americans fallen in a war.

April Fool

march madness

NCAA March Madness

Finally, we will tell you about this day that we could compare with our Feast of the Holy Innocents. Its origin goes back to the desire of the old colonists to make fun of the English to show themselves 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 to celebrate 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 told you about the main Customs and Traditions of the United States. But the North American nation has many others. For example, he 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 Madnesswhich brings together the main university basketball teams in a final phase watched by millions of people.

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