American culture: traditions and customs of the United States

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American culture encompasses the customs and traditions of the United States. “Culture encompasses religion, food, what we wear, how we wear it, our language, marriage, music, what we believe to be right or wrong, how we sit at the table, how we greet visitors , how we behave with our loved ones, and a million other things”, said Cristina De Rossi (opens in a new tab)anthropologist at Barnet and Southgate College, London (opens in a new tab).

The United States is the third largest country in the world with a population of over 332 million, according to the US Census Bureau (opens in a new tab). A child is born every 9 seconds and a person dies every 11 seconds.

In addition to the Native Americans who already lived on the continent, the population of the United States was built on immigration from other countries. According to the Census Bureau, a new immigrant moves to the United States every 666 seconds.

For this reason, the United States is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, according to The London School (opens in a new tab). Almost every region of the world has influenced American culture, including the English who colonized the country from the early 1600s, according to the Library of Congress (opens in a new tab). American culture has also been shaped by the cultures of Native Americans, Latin Americans, Africans, and Asians.

The United States is sometimes described as a “melting pot”, according to Golden Beacon United States (opens in a new tab), in which different cultures brought their own distinct “flavors” to American culture. Just as cultures around the world have influenced American culture, American culture today influences the world. The term Western culture often refers to the cultures of the United States and Europe, depending on ScienceDaily (opens in a new tab).

The way people “melt” in the United States is different. “Different immigrant groups integrate in different ways,” De Rossi told Live Science. “For example, in the United States, Spanish-speaking Catholic communities may retain their language and other cultural family traditions, but are integrated into the urban community and have adopted the American way of life in many other ways.”

The Northeast, South, Midwest, Southeast, and West regions of the United States all have distinct traditions and customs. Here is a brief overview of the culture of the United States.

Language

According to the US government, there is no official language of the United States

According to the US government, there is no official language of the United States (Image credit: Getty/SDI Productions)

There is no official language in the United States, according to the United States Government (opens in a new tab). While nearly every language in the world is spoken in the United States, the most frequently spoken languages ​​other than English are Spanish, Chinese, French, and German. Ninety percent of the US population speaks and understands at least some English, and most official business is conducted in English. Some states have official or preferred languages. For example, English and Hawaiian are the official languages ​​of Hawaii, according to the Washington Post (opens in a new tab).

The Census Bureau (opens in a new tab) estimates that more than 350 languages ​​are spoken in the United States. The bureau divides these languages ​​into four categories: Spanish; other Indo-European languages ​​including German, Yiddish, Swedish, French, Italian, Russian, Polish, Hindi, Punjabi, Greek, and several others. Asian and Pacific Island languages ​​including Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Tamil and many more are also included. There is also a category for “all other languages”, which concerns languages ​​that do not fit into the first three categories, such as Hungarian, Arabic, Hebrew, languages ​​of Africa and languages ​​of the peoples. natives of North, Central and South America. .

Religion

An example of a post-Covid American marriage

An example of a post-Covid American marriage (Image credit: Getty/Phynart Studio)

Almost every known religion is practiced in the United States, which was founded on religious freedom (opens in a new tab). About 70% of Americans identify as Christian, according to information collected by the Pew Research Center (opens in a new tab)a non-partisan research group, in 2017. The research also found that about 23% had no religious affiliation and about 6% of the population was made up of non-Christian religions.

The number of people who do not identify with any religion seems to be decreasing. According to the Pew Research Center (opens in a new tab)this category is expected to increase from 16% in 2015 to 13% in 2060.

american style

An example of contemporary American fashion

An example of contemporary American fashion (Image credit: Getty/ Westend61)

Clothing styles vary according to social status, region, occupation and climate. Jeans, sneakers, baseball caps, cowboy hats and boots are garments closely associated with Americans, although there have been a variety of other styles over the decades, according to Interchange (opens in a new tab). Ralph Lauren (opens in a new tab), Calvin Klein (opens in a new tab), Michael Kors (opens in a new tab) and victoria’s secret (opens in a new tab) are well-known American brands.

American fashion is largely influenced by celebrities and the media, in 2019, sales of clothing and accessories in the United States amounted to 24 billion US dollars, according to Statistical (opens in a new tab). More and more Americans are buying fashion, electronics and more online. According to Census Bureau (opens in a new tab)U.S. retail e-commerce sales for the third quarter of 2021 totaled $214.6 billion.

American food

Gourmet hot dogs

Hot dogs, a classic of American cuisine (Image credit: istetiana via Getty Images)

American cuisine was influenced by Europeans and Native Americans early in its history. Today, there are a number of foods commonly identified as American, such as hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips, mac and cheese, and meatloaf. “As American as apple pie,” despite dishes of non-American origin, has come to mean something authentically American, according to the Smithsonian (opens in a new tab).

There are also region-specific cooking styles and food types. Southern-style cuisine is often referred to as “American comfort food” and includes dishes such as fried chicken, collard greens, black-eyed peas and cornbread, according to southern life (opens in a new tab). Tex-Mex, popular in Texas and the Southwest, is a mix of Spanish and Mexican cooking styles and includes items such as chili and burritos, and relies heavily on shredded cheese and beans, according to Cultural trip (opens in a new tab).

Jerky, dried meats that are served as snacks, is also a food that originated in the United States, according to NPR. (opens in a new tab).

Arts

A view of the famous Broadway theater stage in the United States

A view of the famous Broadway theater stage (Image credit: Getty/Martin Holtkamp)

The United States is widely known around the world as a leader in the production of mass media, including television and movies. According to Select US (opens in a new tab)Athe United States accounts for one-third of the global media and entertainment industry and is worth $717 billion.

The television broadcasting industry moved to the United States in the early 1950s, and American television programs are now broadcast around the world, according to PBS. The United States also has a vibrant film industry, centered in Hollywood, California, and American films are popular around the world. The US film industry earned a record $100 billion in 2019, according to Forbes (opens in a new tab)before dropping in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.

America’s artistic culture, however, extends beyond movies and TV shows. New York is home to Broadway and Americans have a rich theatrical history, according to Arcadia Edition (opens in a new tab). American folk art is an artistic style and is identified with quilts and other handcrafted objects, depending on the folk art museum (opens in a new tab). American music is very diverse with many, many styles including rhythm and blues, jazz, gospel, country and western, bluegrass, rock ‘n’ roll, and hip hop.

Sports

An American baseball player

An American baseball player (Image credit: Getty/Donald Miralle)

The United States is a sports-oriented country, with millions of fans following football, baseball, basketball, and hockey, among other sports. Baseball, which developed in colonial America and became an organized sport in the mid-1800s, according to Blog (opens in a new tab)is known as America’s favorite pastime, although its popularity has been eclipsed by football for the past three decades, according to the Harris Poll (opens in a new tab).

American holidays

A view of the fireworks during the 43rd Annual Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Display on July 04, 2019 in New York City.

A view of the fireworks during the 43rd Annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Display on July 4, 2019 in New York City. (Image credit: Noam Galai via Getty Images)

Many holidays are celebrated only in the United States. Americans celebrate their independence from Great Britain on the 4th of July. Memorial Day, celebrated on the last Monday in May, honors those who have died in military service. Labor Day, celebrated on the first Monday in September, celebrates the country’s workforce. Thanksgiving, another distinctive American holiday, falls on the fourth Thursday in November and dates back to colonial times to celebrate the harvest.

Presidents Day, marking the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, is a federal holiday that occurs on the third Monday in February. Veterans’ contributions are honored on Veterans Day, celebrated on November 11. The contributions of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. are commemorated on the third Monday in January.

Additional reporting by Alina Bradford, Live Science Contributor.

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