Strange Traditions Or Rituals of Americans

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When thinking about certain rituals or ceremonies that pertain to an individual culture or society, some would probably think of foreign countries, such as Japan or Spain; however, what most people fail to realize is that Americans, too, have a set of rituals of their own. The United States is a very diverse country with people from different ethnicities and backgrounds. Although we all differ in multiple ways, as a society we all come together to partake in some of the same ridiculous activities. Picture this: it is a cold Thanksgiving morning. Families are preparing for the large quantities of food they are about to consume. As the sun sets, children are left at grandma’s house watching reruns of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, eating leftover turkey and distasteful cranberry sauce while their parents are preparing for war. On Thanksgiving night, people will be trampled, and punches will be thrown at innocent bystanders. A few may even lose their life on this night filled with bloodshed and misery. All of this talk of violence may seem like I am describing a scene right out of The Purge, but instead this is a description of the marketing ploy better known as Black Friday – a very popular “ritual” done here annually in America. Although many countries partake in this event, nobody does it quite like Americans. For some reason, we do not mind the routine of standing in line for hours, sprinting into a store, and injuring others just to get a discounted Keurig coffee machine or taking a pair of shoes out of an unsuspecting child’s hands while their mother is busy fighting over something else. While occurrences like this are going on in your local Walmart, there are plenty of stores in Canada celebrating the same deals in a much less barbaric way. “I've never been to a Black Friday sale before in my life. I just wanted to check it out to see how crazy it was here… Hopefully, I don't get punched in the face like they do in the States." (Matthew Young,

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It is not an American tradition if nobody gets hurt. Another ceremonious activity done in America is obsessing over anything that pertains to pumpkins during the Fall season. Yes, people really love to consume products that taste they have bitten a chunk out of a Bath and Body Works candle. It is as if the very moment a leaf falls off of a tree, everyone flocks to the nearest Starbucks in search for a Pumpkin Spice Latte. If you have ever walked into a grocery store or coffee shop during Autumn, you know this to be true. “Weaving in and out of each aisle, I was inundated with row upon row of pumpkin spice M&Ms, pumpkin spice Oreos, pumpkin spice beer, pumpkin spice Pop-Tarts, pumpkin spice creamer for my pumpkin spice coffee …” (Jordan Gaines Lewis, The sad thing about all of these pumpkin spice products is they will all go to waste and end up in the discount bin weeks later.

Thinking about the fact that Americans love blowing all of their money on pumpkin spice, another topic about American rituals comes to mind. A ritual that everyone in the States loves to partake in is doing everything backwards in our everyday lives. We just really enjoy confusing the rest of the world. From telling the time, writing the date, measuring distances, and talking about the temperature, Americans think they know best. If I were to spark a conversation about the weather with someone from any other country and I mentioned it was 95 degrees outside, they would probably think the entire U.S. is engulfed in flames. That’s because we still use Fahrenheit instead of Celsius. “Only a few countries use Fahrenheit as their official scale: the United States, Belize, Palau, the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands.” Aside from telling the temperature differently, we also love to write the date out of order, as one could prove to be true by looking at the date written at the top of the first page in this essay. Americans write the date in order of month/day/year whilst every other country writes it in a more sensible way of order as day/month/year. Another ritualistically backwards thing we do is call ‘football’ soccer and vice versa. You would think the sport that requires using one’s feet for the entirety of the game would be called ‘football’, yet us Americans apparently think differently because, here again, Americans know best.

All in all, it can be proved in multiple ways that Americans have strange traditions or rituals that we follow through with. From neglecting families for a discounted toaster, to obsessing over Autumn by over-indulging in pumpkin spice foods, to being unique by using the imperial system, and, lastly, naming sports so absurdly that it could be considered to be incorrect. Although these are not your typical “ceremonious rituals” that happen in other overseas countries, no matter what they are, they are what unite our country into the weirdness that is America.

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