US Culture and Traditions

The USA is a nation of immigrants, and thus, comprises a country with varied cultures and traditions. The 3rd largest in the world, the USA is a welcoming nation of people from all walks of life.

Culture and Traditions in USA

The most multicultural nation in the world, the American identity is influenced by almost every other culture. Asian, European, African American, and South American cultures are evident in many of the country's cultural elements. A country that's open to all religions, nearly every kind is practiced with complete acceptance and tolerance. Because of the varied nationalities, there are many differences in lifestyles such as having both conservative and liberal political views, and both family-oriented and individualistic values.

Despite being a melting pot of different cultures, the USA has forged its identity and here are some of their customs and traditions:

  • Greetings are very informal and usually takes a handshake and a "Hello."
  • Saying "How are you?" is a form of greeting and is usually answered with an "Okay," or "Fine." Most often than not, it is not an invitation to narrate your life events but a mere polite way of saying "Hi."
  • When invited to a dinner party, it is customary to bring gifts such as wine or flowers.
  • Americans are very direct and straightforward. Beating around the bush is considered a waste of time.


US FoodEach of the 50 states has its very own ‘state dish,’ and together these create a unique culinary mosaic for the country. From the savory to the sweet, most American dishes are quite rich and usually come in large helpings.

* For more infomation please see our American food page.

MusicThe diversity in the ethnic composition of the population of the US is amply reflected in the music genres that have developed across the country. Music like Jazz, Country, Rhythm and Blues, and Rock have all taken a stronghold in America. Other music types, such as Swing, Rock and Roll, Disco, Hip-Hop, and Rap are all very much a part of the American pop culture.

Art and Painting
Art and PaintingDuring the colonial period, European portrait paintings influence could be clearly seen in American art, and the two famous portrait painters of the period were John Singleton Copley (1738-1815) and Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827). After independence from England, national pride in the new American nation led artists like John Trumbull (1756-1843) and Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828) to paint the important events of the revolutionary war, and other historical paintings. As the nation expanded westwards, the painters and their paintings began to depict the wildlife and natives found in the west. Realism strongly influenced American painters Winslow Homer (1836-1910) and Thomas Eakins (1844-1916). In the 20th century, a group of painters known as 'The Eight' gave America its first modern art. Abstract art was made famous by painters like Max Weber (1881-1961), Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) and Jackson Pollock (1912-1956).

The gigantic sculpture of George Washington by Horatio Greenough (1805-52), which is placed in the Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C., was influenced by ancient Roman art. Two American sculptors whose works were influenced by the European Renaissance are Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907) and Daniel Chester French (1850-1931). The abstract style influenced modern American sculptors such as Alexander Calder (1898-1976) and Richard Hunt (1935 - 1915).

Design and Architecture
Design and ArchitectureLike other aspects of American culture, architecture was also influenced by local conditions and immigrants. The 19th century saw buildings constructed in the Romanesque Revival style, the Greek Revival style characterized by symmetrical pillared forms, as well as the Gothic Revival style with its pointed crocketed and asymmetrical forms. The latter part of the 19th century saw the emergence of the skyscraper - a remarkable American contribution to the world of architecture. Some of the notable American architects of the period were Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), Benjamin Latrobe (1764-1820), Louise Sullivan (1856-1924), Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959), and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969). Today, the architectural style in the US combines both old and new elements, and some architects of the modern era are Robert Venturi (1925- ), Richard Meier (1934- ), and Michael Graves (1934-2015).

Reflecting its rich history, the American literature has two distinct segments. One segment deals with the writings of the colonial era and the other represents the post-Revolutionary writings when the evolution of American poetry, fiction, and drama commenced. Nine Americans have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The winners of this prestigious award include Sinclair Lewis, Eugene O'Neill, Pearl Buck, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Saul Bellow, Issac Bashevis Singer, and Toni Morrison.

The American fashion industry has made an impressive impact worldwide. Today, some of the illustrious brands from America have established a strong reputation in the global fashion market.

The top names in American fashion are Adrienne Vittadini, Anna Sui, Anne Klein, BCBG Maxazria, Bill Blass, Billy Reid, Calvin Klein, Carole Hochman, Carolina Herrera, Claire McCardell, David Yurman, Derek Lam, Diane von Furstenberg, Donna Karen, Elie Tahari, Geoffrey Beene, Giorgio di Sant' Angelo, Halston, J. Crew, J. Mendel, John Varvatos, Judith Leiber, Juicy Couture, Kate Spade, Kay Unger, Kenneth Cole, Lincs, Liz Claiborne, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Mimi So, Mollie Parnis, Nanette Lepore, Natori, Nicole Miller, Oscar de la Renta, Pamella Roland, Phillip Lim, Rag and Bone, Ralph Lauren, Reed Krakoff, Stan Herman, Stuart Weitzman, Theory, Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger, Tory Burch, Tracy Reese, Trina Turk, and Vera Wang.

Some indigenous brands of the U.S.A. are Hickey Freeman - whose specialty is men's tailored suits; New Balance - known for its collection of athletic footwear; Nanette Lepore - a famous brand in women's apparel; True Religion - much acclaimed manufacturer of designer jeans; Alden Shoe Company - deals in men's dress shoes; Pendleton - famous manufacturer of wool blankets, shirts and other apparel, and All American Clothing Co., whose specialty is jeans.

CinemaAmerican cinema has captured the imagination of the world. American movies can be broadly classified into romantic, comedy, and action films. The studios of Hollywood are well-known for their movies and the stars they have created.
SportsSports are an integral part of American life. The top American sports are; baseball, football, and basketball. Ice Hockey is well established, and the US is slowly catching up with the world, and embracing soccer.

Other sports such as motorsports (auto racing), Mixed Martial Arts, golf, tennis and extreme sports like sailboarding, mountain biking, and sports climbing are also popular in the country.

Famous Americans
Amongst some of the luminaries that have impacted American life and society in a big way are: Abraham Lincoln - the sixteenth American President; Andrew Carnegie - a financier and philanthropist; Benjamin Franklin - a diplomat, inventor and scientist; Bill Gates - founder of Microsoft Corporation and a philanthropist; Bob Dylan - a singer and songwriter; Clara Barton - founder of American Red Cross; Author and poet Edgar Allen Poe; Eleanor Roosevelt - First Lady and humanitarian; Ernest Hemingway - author; George Washington - General and the first President; Henry Ford - an industrialist and philanthropist; baseball player Jackie Robinson; boxer Joe Louis; John Adams - the second American President; actor John Wayne; musician Louis Armstrong; actress and comedian Lucille Ball; civil rights leader Martin Luther King; poet Robert Frost; Civil rights leader Rosa Parks; author Stephen King; Susan B. Anthony - an activist and woman suffrage alliance; Theodore Roosevelt - the 26th American President, Thomas Edison - an inventor extraordinaire, and Warren Buffet - a business magnate, investor, and philanthropist.

Festivals in USA

The USA love to celebrate and they celebrate big. Here are some of their beloved holidays and festivals:

The Fourth of July

The celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence is celebrated each year throughout the country. Everywhere you go, you'll see barbecues, picnics, the American flag, and firework displays in public gatherings.

Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, the Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a party paradise of street dancing and parades.

St. Patrick's Day

Celebrating Irish heritage in the USA every year on the 17th of March, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated with displays of the color green, parades, drinking, and parties.


A national holiday and the start of the holiday season, Thanksgiving is celebrated every 4th Thursday of November. It involves gathering of the family and dining on turkey and home-cooked dishes as a way of giving thanks to the bounty of blessings that have arrived.

Last Updated Date: November 28th, 2017