The American way of life has always fascinated the whole world. Freedom, simplicity, grandeur… This country has been able to spread its enriching culture all over the globe. Comprising several federal states, the United States also has many traditions of its own. Here are a few examples of some of the world’s best known American customs.
Thanksgiving: One of the most important holidays in the United States
Thanksgiving is one of the most significant American customs. It is celebrated every fourth Thursday in November. It is notably one of the most important holidays for Americans, so much so that they do not hesitate to travel miles by several means of transport such as train or plane, to meet their loved ones.
Thanksgiving is a tradition that is celebrated as a family. It is particularly marked by the consumption of turkey as the main menu and pumpkin pie, which is a dessert that is very popular with Americans. Meaning “Thanksgiving” in French, it is a rare moment to thank God for the happiness he offers every day. It is also an occasion to commemorate the Indian wars. According to history, the origin of Thanksgiving dates back to the 1620’s. At that time, pilgrim fathers landed in Massachusetts and founded the city of Plymouth. But later, they would face a war against the colonizers. Despite several deaths, they were victorious thanks to the help of another tribe. To thank them, the city of Plymouth has decided to dedicate 3 days of Thanksgiving during its first harvest. They offered them a hearty meal, containing turkey and pigeons. Since then, this feast has always been celebrated every year. Moreover, it was in 1771 that Thanksgiving was officially proclaimed a “holiday” in the United States.
The Super Bowl: America’s Favourite Sports Event
Aside from baseball, American football is the iconic sport of the United States. In particular, a championship is held every year. It ends with the Super Bowl: a grand final full of atmosphere. The Super Bowl is not just a time to watch the game and support your team. It is above all an opportunity to promote cohesion and sharing.
A lot of activities are organized during this event. A great show is, for example, offered to the spectators before the start of the match or at half-time. Many famous stars such as Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé or Justin Timberlake have already participated.
The “Kiss Cam” is also a super bowl phenomenon. As its name suggests, it is a kissing session, addressed to spectators who are in couples. As soon as the camera is pointed at them, they have to kiss each other to show their love.
High school and college parties: a moment of release for young Americans
Americans like to party, and this is justified through series and films. Young people in the US never miss an opportunity to let off steam and have fun. That’s why they organize a lot of parties with friends and classmates.
This kind of party starts as early as high school and works like this: a popular student will invite dozens, even hundreds, of friends to his home. Then they will party, usually until dawn. The more guests there are, the more successful the party is said to be. So the party is a way to increase its popularity. It’s also a great time to meet people and make friends. At the university, student parties are still going on. Nevertheless, they often take place in sororities or between clubs.
The particularity with the American parties, lies in the existence of the “red cup” and the “punch”. In fact, we see a lot of them in American films and series. Red cups are small red cups used to serve the drink. The “bunch” is a large bowl filled with (often alcoholic) drink and served with a ladle. It is especially common at prom and school parties.
Halloween: An Institution in the United States
Halloween is one of the other best-known American customs, although it is even less practiced in other countries such as Europe. It is celebrated on the evening of October 31. Its main purpose is to remember the dead and the dark creatures.
In the morning, people will decorate their houses with scary objects such as skull heads, a vampire, not forgetting the famous monstrous pumpkin, an emblematic Halloween decoration. Then, as soon as the evening arrives, all the children will disguise themselves and go through all the houses to get candy or presents.
For teenagers and youngsters, Halloween is mostly held at big parties. All the guests will then dress up and let off steam until the wee hours of the morning.