15 American Traditions Spreading Abroad

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When it comes to traditions, Americans have some great customs and annual events, some of which can be traced back hundreds of years. Whether it’s a seasonal celebration or a much-loved sale, these traditions have become ingrained in our culture. In more recent years, some of these traditions have even started to spread abroad, with more and more countries starting to embrace the events that we hold so dear. Here are 15 examples of American traditions that have become popular overseas.

15. Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving marks the day the Pilgrims broke bread with the Native Americans. It is a very important day in the American calendar that people spend with loved ones. Many countries in different areas of the world now hold their own version of Thanksgiving to mark momentous moments in their respective histories; for example, Norfolk Island off Australia, Liberia, and Saint Lucia.

14. Black Friday

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Since 1952, the day after Thanksgiving has formally marked the commencement of the Christmas shopping season in the United States. In more recent times, it was bestowed the name “Black Friday.” In the era of globalization, many countries throughout the world now hold massive sales on Black Friday, including Canada, France, Mexico, Norway, India, and Romania. The whole world becomes crazy for Black Friday shopping deals.

13. Halloween

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During the latter period of the 19th century, immigrants flocked to America in their drove. We can thank some of these immigrants, especially those who came to the US while fleeing the Irish Potato Famine, for helping to proliferate the Halloween celebration throughout the United States. Since those early days, scary costumes and trick-or-treating have become popular in areas such as Australia, Canada, Puerto Rico, Japan and some markets in Mexico.

12. Groundhog Day

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Groundhog Day can be traced back as far as 1841. However, since its early incarnation, it has spread beyond Punxsutawney, PA. On February 2 every year, people attend the Groundhog Day celebrations in Punxsutawney in their droves, temporarily significantly increasing its population beyond the usual 6,000 people. In 1956, Canadians started to celebrate the event as well.

11. Black History Month

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Black History Month is an important time on the US calendar that is set aside to recognize the fundamental role that African Americans have played in the history of the United States. Black History Month first appeared in 1926, after which every American president has set aside the month of February as Black History Month. Many other governments have started to recognize this event, including those in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands and Canada.

10. Veterans Day

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Veterans Day is held every year on November 11 (the date on which World War One officially ended), to mark the people who serve or have served the United States in a military capacity. At 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month, people throughout Europe, the UK, and other Commonwealth nations observe two minutes’ silence in memory of those who fought for freedom.

9. Fraternities and Sororities

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Phi Beta Kappa, which was founded in 1775 at the College of William and Mary, was the first fraternity in North America to integrate the majority of the features that we associated with contemporary fraternities. After a somewhat unsuccessful run in Scotland, fraternities and sororities started to become commonplace in Canada.

8. Mother’s Day & Father’s day

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The celebration of Mother’s Day can be traced back to an event that was held in 1908 in West Virginia. Since then, over 80 countries throughout the world have started to adopt the celebration, although different areas of the globe celebrate it on different days. In the US, for example, Mother’s Day is held on the second Sunday of May every year. In the early 20th century, Father’s Day was introduced to ensure that the dads of this world were also honored for everything they do. In India, Father’s Day was introduced in recent years under the influence of US traditions.

7. Mortarboard Throwing

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The tradition of casting the mortarboard in the air following graduation was first initiated in 1912 in Annapolis, Maryland, when students from the U.S. Naval Academy spontaneously flung their hats in the air to celebrate becoming officers. The tradition is now very popular at universities and colleges throughout the United Kingdom and Canada.

6. Cowboys

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Cowboys are a cultural symbol of America’s rich history and will always be one! They embody determination, adventure, individualism, and overcoming adversity, and the aspects that Cowboys stand for are now celebrated in many regions, including British Columbia (in Canada), Congo and Mexico.

5. Prom

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Although proms are now something that is associated more with high school than college, originally, they took the form of banquets that were held in honor of seniors as they graduated. Today, throughout the US and Canada, proms are a rite of passage for high school students and have spread beyond North America to countries in Europe, such as the United Kingdom. It has also started to spread to other areas of the world, like Brazil.

4. Baby Showers

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In many areas throughout the world, a baby shower marks the point at which a young woman matures into motherhood. However, in the US, the celebrations take a slightly different form and are designed to honor a pregnant mother. The aim of the US approach to baby showers is to bestow the mother-to-be with the items she will need for the baby’s arrival. Once purely a US tradition, baby showers are now very popular in the United Kingdom and in Canada.

3. Valentine’s Day

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While Valentine’s day did not officially originate in the United States, the form that has become commonplace throughout the world was directly derived from US traditions. As a result of the commercialization of Valentine’s Day, many of the traditions that are honored in America are celebrated in every corner of the globe.

2. Basketball

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Basketball is an extremely popular sport in the United States that has attracted a cult following. Stars of the NBA often progress to be major celebrities in their own right, and the love of the game has spread throughout the world, even as far as North Korea. In fact, the country’s dictator leader, Kim Jong-Il is a major fan of this American sport and has even flown NBA stars into North Korea to meet them. However, the form that basketball takes in North Korea is somewhat modified from what we are familiar with in the west.

1. Earth Day

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Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, established a national day to mark the impact humanity has on the environment after he was horrified by the aftermath of the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Earth Day has since been celebrated throughout the world; for example, in 2010, it was marked by 192 countries.