America fascinates by the richness as well as the immensity of its territory. One of the particularities of this great nation lies in its cultural diversity. Western (European) traditions are mixed with other cultures from Mexico, Africa and Asia.
This shows how America is regarded as a land of welcome for many people. It is therefore still complex to establish a culture specific to the United States, but let’s discover together the main features of customs in America.
Patriotism: an important aspect of American culture
History has shown that the United States can unite to face a common enemy. As an illustration, there is the War of Independence against the Kingdom of England in 1775. At that time, patriotic sentiment was reinforced by a desire to throw off the English yoke.
Today, this is a legacy that is still maintained by contemporary Americans. As proof, one need only note the national infatuation in the event of a natural disaster (during Hurricane Katrina) or a terrorist threat (Al Qu’aida).
The American people remain proud of their history and demonstrate it on every occasion, especially on 4 July (Independence Day).
For the future, it is difficult to believe in a change, moreover the current President, Donald Trump, always advocates the love of the nation during his “meetings”. He is aware that this is an effective way to rally the people around his ideas.
The traditions of the United States revolve around patriotism, and many holidays celebrate the bravery and courage of the American people in the face of adversity. For example, D-Day is commemorated in a conspicuous way there. As a reminder, it is the day of the Normandy landings. History reminds us that this was a major turning point in the fight against Nazism during the Second World War.
The place of cuisine in the American tradition
One aspect of the traditions of the United States is gastronomy. Indeed, one can discover thousands of specialities from several populations (Native Americans, Indians, Chinese, Italians, Africans). However, one of the characteristics of the cuisine across the Atlantic is based on fast food. In these restaurants, customers can enjoy a fast food dish at unbeatable prices. Production must therefore follow in order to maintain a high rate of consumption.
This model works perfectly, which is why restaurant chains such as McDonald’s and KFC are setting up operations all over the world, even in the most conservative countries.
American cuisine revolves around meat. Indeed, chicken, beef or pork must be eaten at every meal. In the suburbs, it is customary for residents to organise barbecues. This is a festive event in which participants cook and consume meat while strengthening friendly ties with their neighbours.
Recently, however, the advent of a vegetarian movement in American homes has been gaining momentum. This is undoubtedly an awareness of Western consumption patterns.
In short, American traditions give an important place to cooking and eating. It is customary there to celebrate a feast around a full banquet.
The preponderance of religion in American culture
The theme of religion has an important place in the traditions of the United States. It revolves around the values of Christianity, despite the fact that America is home to many Jews and atheists.
Given the large number of Protestants and Catholics in America, religious holidays are celebrated in an ostentatious manner. Thus, for Christmas or Easter, Americans gather to pray and celebrate.
They are very religious, which is why it is customary for the American President to swear an oath before the Bible at his inauguration.
In any case, American culture is rooted in several waves of immigration in history. It is therefore heterogeneous and difficult to define.
The influence of American culture throughout the world
The traditions of the United States are based on certain values such as sharing and freedom. These are celebrated annually such as Martin Luther King Day (January 18) or Thanksgiving (November 26). These are important moments when the family gathers around a well-stocked meal.
Thanks to or because of globalisation, American culture is having an influence on other peoples. For example, most countries now celebrate Halloween, which was originally a North American culture inherited from Celtic folklore.
Other examples can illustrate the spread of American culture as in music or pop culture. Thus, with the distribution of American comic strips and film products, American culture is constantly being drunk to the detriment of others.