Interesting American Traditions

Jul 02, 2021Ncuthu W

We know you're probably thinking beer-chugging games, thanksgiving or just being really loud. But there are way more strange cultural practices in the United States than that. From unique restaurant experiences to celebrating strange holidays, there's no shortage of weird and wonderful. So let's get down to the nitty-gritty and explore what the U.S has to offer. Here are the weirdest American traditions... 

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Drinking Coffee On The Go

There's a Starbucks almost everywhere around the globe but Americans indulge in it a little be differently. In most places, you'll find that coffee is enjoyed in communal settings, with friends. But Americans would rather grab and go. It's eco-friendly and it's the best option when there's a lot of hustle and bustle. 

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A Single Colored Currency

We all know that the dollar bill can only be green. It's become so embedded in society that you most likely relate the color green to money.  In reality, there's no exciting range of colors, just the dusty green. Yes, it's boring but at least you can buy exciting things with it! 

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Super Size Everything

We've all heard the phrase 'Everything is bigger in Texas", which just proves how Americans love everything to be bigger and better. Look if you like big things, the US may as well be your heaven. They've got super size drinks, burgers, cars, hair, and sundaes. 

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Customize Restaurant Orders

If you are a refined traveler you'll know that in some cultures ordering various condiments or variations to a meal is considered a faux pas. In America, this is a totally normal practice, in fact, a meal isn't exactly complete without some extra condiments.

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Request Doggie Bags

Asking for a doggie bag at the end of your dining experience is considered to be rude in many societies. In some European countries, it is even viewed as a potential health hazard. France has even gone as far as declaring it illegal for restaurants to deny doggy bags to stop food waste.

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Require Lots Of Ice

Americans put ice in everything. It's even been posed that they are obsessed with ice. Many foreign countries aren't fans of ice because it waters down your drink and they also question its origins but nonetheless, there are plenty of other things that are different about this country. 

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The Thumbs Up

This gesture has become so popular that there's even an emoji for it. But it's not as universal as you might think. In places like Australia, Greece, and the Middle East, it's considered to be the equivalent of the middle finger. Yikes, so the world travelers need to be careful. 

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Pay Sales Tax

If you want to take a retail therapy trip to the US, you need to keep in mind that prices aren't as they seem. In many countries, taxes are already added to the retail price. It's the exact opposite in America, sales tax is added upon checkout

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Hold A World Series

American baseball teams compete in the World Series Championship. They are the only country that participates other than one other Canadian team. Essentially it doesn't operate anywhere else in the world. Why it's called a World Series is beyond us. But the NPR says it could have been a marketing angle.

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They Refer To The Country As 'America'

We all know that the country is the United States of America and it is not only America in the world. In South America, it is viewed as politically incorrect for the country to be called America. Keep reading for another American obsession that you may know of...  

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The Love Of Pumpkin 

The country has a unique fascination with pumpkins. From the Halloween celebrations to including pumpkin in unlikely recipes. The rest of the world doesn't have this much love for pumpkins and we're not even sure that we necessarily want to. 

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Write The Date Out Of Order

The U.S had to go ahead and do something totally different by writing the date all out of order. It's usually written as MM-DD-YY but a lot of other places will write it as DD-MM-YY. The reason why America writes it in its own way is still a mystery but there have been some theories

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Hosting Baby Showers

It seems like the whole country experiences baby fever and they get super excited about it. It's sort of an American tradition as not many other countries practice this custom. In some cultures, it's considered bad luck to celebrate the baby before it is born. 

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Opening Gifts In Front Of The Giver

Don't we all enjoy getting a gift? Although it seems like you should open the gift in front of the person who gave it to you and thank them; it's not the case in other countries. In some Asian cultures, it's rude to open gifts in front of the giver. They may even think you are greedy. 

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Partying With Red Cups 

The red cups are a cultural icon at this point. Drinking from a red cup is viewed as a totally American way of living thanks to the movies and music videos. Hollywood has certainly pushed this as a cultural staple. So if you're ever keen on hosting an all-American party, red cups should be the first item on your list. 

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They Love Personal Space 

When someone invades an American's personal space, things can get awkward. They are uncomfortable with being close to strangers and sometimes it's viewed as an offense. Foreign travel blogs even advise tourists to give Americans their space. 

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Tip Everyone And Every Time 

Well, almost everyone. People who enjoy restaurants in America will know that tipping is essential and it's not something restaurant-goers worry about. Waitstaff generates the bulk of their earnings from tips so it's the courteous thing to do

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Chatting With Strangers 

Americans are generally really good at small talk. To others, it may seem awkward or uncomfortable but the people of America are chatty. Most of them aren't opposed to striking up a conversation with a complete stranger. The next custom is about Americans staying tight-lipped about a certain topic. 

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They Don't Discuss Finances

Americans generally run away from conversations about money. They don't want to discuss how much they make and how much they pay for expensive items. In fact, talking about finances may even be considered rude by some American standards. 

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Cover Up 

Try sunbathing in the nude and watch how fast you land up in a jail cell. Americans are not about any nudity in public spaces. You shouldn't even change your clothes at the beach. A lot of Americans view it as indecent exposure, the country is still very conservative. 

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Laugh Out Loud 

This custom may not seem all that weird but some cultures frown upon laughing out loud in public. The Japanese consider it rude to show your teeth which may be the reason why some of them are not the biggest fans of Americans bursting with laughter in public. 

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Smiling A Lot  

Experts think that the reason why American's come off as so friendly is that they are a nation of immigrants. They had to find a common way of communicating. That's where the smile comes in. Americans are quick to flash a smile at a stranger, which may be weird in other cultures. 

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They Measure In Miles, Feet, And Inches 

While America is super comfortable with its unique measuring system, the rest of the world is bewildered. America is one of three countries that measure using the imperial system. The rest of the world is on the metric system. Why does it seem as though the U.S is always going left while the rest of the world goes right? 

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Eat It All

Tourists who visit the U.S are always shocked by the size of American meals. Researchers say that food portions are significantly bigger in America. What's even crazier is that studies show that immigrants often gain weight after moving to the U.S. 

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Expect Free Refills

American fast-food restaurants are known for providing their customers with free drink refills. The tradition seems to be spreading all over the world since you can find American fast-food chains virtually anywhere in the world. But not everyone is overjoyed about this freebie. France has banned free soda refills to curb obesity. What other weird stuff do Americans do? 

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They Insist On Variety 

Many Americans are of the philosophy that more is more. It's almost as though they have to have everything at the same time. One Reddit user observed, "It has to come in blueberry, vanilla, diet, low fat, low sodium, big, small, round, and GRAPE, everything is grape flavored." 

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Going Into Debt For A Degree

While students in some European countries can attend college for free. Americans have to pay thousands of dollars for their tuition. Some land up in a tremendous amount of debt due to student loans. This is really tough but on the bright side at least they have really cool holidays to look forward to. 

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Trick Or Treat 

The American Halloween tradition has only recently begun to spread in other countries but people still find it strange. Some say it's just another opportunity for the U.S to commercialize a holiday. Some people are disappointed that they can't join in the festivities in their own countries. 

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Advertising Everything 

American's love advertising with humor, sometimes this has the rest of the world confused. From strange prescription medication ads and more specifically, commercials for lawyers. Non-Americans have observed that in the U.S, you're very likely to see lawyer ads more than anything else. 

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Sitting In The Back Seat

Try hailing a cab in the U.S then climb into the front seat and watch how the driver gets uncomfortable. In America, climbing into the back seat of a cab is the norm. However, in places such as New Zealand and Australia, if you choose the back seat it may be viewed as rude and elitist. Interesting huh? 

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Showing Too Much In The Public Restroom

It often happens that when tourists visit America, they don't like the American-style bathroom stalls. There are plenty of online forums that have been so confused about why there is so much space under and around the bathroom stalls. We guess it makes them uncomfortable. 

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Working All The Time

The U.S has one of the most advanced economies in the world and employees barely get paid off time. This is probably why they've gained such high esteem. However, many European countries such as Spain and Germany offer workers at least a months worth of paid vacation. 

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Avoiding Harsh Critiques 

"In a discussion with Americans, when they say, 'I wonder if this is really the best solution?' they mean 'no,'" one website warned. "If they say 'I'm wondering if we might need more time,' they mean 'no' … Americans get confused (or just plain mad) if a German boss answers statements with 'No,' 'That's good,' [or] 'Just go ahead.'"Interesting how they interact. 

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Staying Optimistic

American people generally have a positive outlook and disposition. If you're faced with adversity, fail, or make a mistake, it's almost taken as a normal occurrence that happens from time to time. Americans don't dwell on the negatives too long, instead, they have the will to get up and try again. 

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They're Very Patriotic 

You're likely to see the U.S flag flying around people's porches even when it's not Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, or Flag Day. A lot of American's believe that the country is the best in the world. It all boils down to the over-the-top patriotism which may be considered a bit too much in other countries. 

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Black Friday 

We can thank Americans for this shopping holiday. The day after their Thanksgiving celebrations, millions of people flock to stores to shop for bargain deals on Christmas gifts. Many have criticized this tradition for commercializing a religious holiday but it could just be a bit of envy for the shopping deals. 

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Having Dinner After Work 

Americans are all about efficient meals so that after work, they can immediately jump into so grub. But in many countries in Europe, dinner is only served around 8 or 9 pm. Americans are fond of early meals because they're always busy or rushing through the day. 

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Giving Gifts On Hanukkah

The commercialization of Christmas has spilled over into other holidays including Hanukkah. This Jewish holiday isn't as popular as Christmas but American Jews have started giving each other gifts throughout the 8 days of Hanukkah

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Going To Prom 

If you're an American teen, attending prom night is a right of passage that's held close to the heart. Basically, it's an event where high school seniors get dressed and celebrate with each other. While other countries do host balls and events, proms aren't as popular. What else do Americans celebrate? 

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 Long Election Seasons 

American elections can go up to a year and a half, that's really long! For example, the race for the presidency in 2018 went on for 18 months. In contrast, the shortest election race was in Canada as it lasted 74 days. 

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Leaving Milk and Cookies for Santa Claus

American Santa is a happy-go-lucky icon known for spreading joy to kids all over the country. The love for cookies and milk is also an American expression of Saint Nicolas. Other countries will leave other treats for Father Christmas like pudding or porridge. 

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Making Fun of Fruitcake

Fruitcake is delicious and unique in that it contains fruit bits, nuts, some spices, and sometimes even some alcohol. However, it has become a sort of an American cliche. Also, some people think it's stale and a dessert that's been passed down throughout the generations. But in Britain, people prefer Christmas pudding. 

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You're very likely to leave any American gathering with a full belly. Food and drinks are an integral part of plenty of celebrations around the world but Americans seem to take to a whole other level. Obesity is also a huge problem facing the United States.

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Presidential Turkey Pardon

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday but there's one strange thing about it that leaves most non-Americans confused. The Thanksgiving tradition is known as the presidential turkey pardon. The president 'saves' one turkey and sends it back to a farm. The tradition began with the Kennedy administration and has been an ongoing American tradition since 1989. 

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So we've come to the conclusion of the most bizarre American traditions that have the world either side-eying or envious of the United States. We'd love to know your thoughts on all these peculiar customs so do let us know in the comments. Be sure to hit the like button and share this article with your loved ones. 

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