American Culture: Traditions and Customs of the United States

Here is a brief overview of the culture of the United States.


There is no official language of the United States, where more than 300 languages are spoken. The most frequently spoken non-English languages are Spanish, Chinese, French and German. Some states have official or preferred languages.


Nearly every known religion is practiced in the United States, which was founded on the basis of religious freedom. About 71% of Americans identify as Christians, about 23% have no religious affiliation at all and around 6% are non-Christian religions.


Clothing styles vary by social status, region, occupation and climate. Jeans, sneakers, baseball caps, cowboy hats and boots are items of clothing that are closely associated with Americans.


A number of foods are commonly identified as American, such as hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips, macaroni and cheese, and meat loaf. "As American as apple pie" means something that is authentically American.

Styles of cooking and types of foods are specific to a region. Southern-style cooking is often called "American comfort food" and includes fried chicken, collard greens, black-eyed peas and corn bread. Tex-Mex is a blend of Spanish and Mexican cooking that relies heavily on shredded cheese and beans.


American television programs and movies are shown around the world.

American folk art is an artistic style identified with quilts and other hand-crafted items.

American music has many styles, including rhythm and blues, jazz, gospel, country and western, bluegrass, rock 'n' roll and hip hop.


The United States is a sports-minded country, with millions of fans who follow football, baseball, basketball and hockey, among other sports. Baseball was developed in colonial America and is known as America's favorite pastime.


Many holidays are celebrated only in the United States. Americans celebrate their independence from Britain on July 4. Memorial Day honors those who have died in military service. Labor Day celebrates the country's workforce. Thanksgiving celebrates the harvest. Presidents' Day marks the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. The contributions of veterans are honored on Veterans' Day. The contributions of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. are also remembered.

Source: American Culture: Traditions and Customs of the United States
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