picture by Laney Yancey

Caroline Dew, Messenger Reporter, Columnist & Social Media Manager

America -the melting pot of countries. Where did we get this title? Well, for starters, America has been colonized and immigrated to by hundreds of cultures. You probably originate, or at least some part of you, originates from another country. Maybe your skin is dark, maybe your skin has a yellow or orange tint, or maybe it’s just light. All of us look different, and have different traditions, because of where we come from. You may even you borrow a tradition from another country, or your family has picked it up, and you weren’t even aware it originated in another country! Tradition exists through and through, providing a bit of culture in many aspects of the American life.


Food is probably the most obvious tradition that we borrow from other countries. If I put out a poll with different types of food, a lot of you would probably say that your favorite food is pizza. Who can blame you? Pizza is yummy with all of its tomato sauce and hot cheese. Well, as American as pizza seems, it’s actually Italian! And Chinese food – I shouldn’t have to explain that one too much. It’s from China! You’ll notice that lots of authentic Chinese restaurants are run by families from China, who have immigrated and opened up their own restaurants, because Chinese food is so popular here! Spaghetti, fish and chips, tacos, and sushi are amongst other popular foods here that originated somewhere else.


Many traditions that we celebrate here in the United States have foreign origins too! Christmas, for example, a holiday that Christians in the United States celebrate, actually originated as an ancient holiday in Scandinavia. And after Christmas, we celebrate New Year’s! New Year’s has origins in Rome, where Roman would sacrifice to the two-faced roman god who would look back on the past and forwards toward the future. Easter has a long history as well – the idea of the ‘Easter Bunny’ originated in Germany.  Even some of our sports originate in different countries! Golf as we know it, for example, originated in Scotland. Tennis as we know it originated when French monks began to play a backyard game which they called ‘Je de paume’, which translates to ‘game of hand’. Football as we know it originated in England as Rugby, which is still a sport to this day.  


Not all traditions are borrowed from other countries, however. The United States has some of their own traditions. Apple pie, hamburgers, Potato chips, and mac and cheese are just some examples of American food.  America even has their own sports! Many people know baseball as ‘the American past time’, for example. American Thanksgiving is another example of an American tradition – it celebrates a reported peace meeting between native americans and settlers.


In short, while Americans are known as cultureless and thieves of traditions – it is only natural for Americans to bring their own traditions with them from their home countries. As time passes, these become incorporated into mainstream American culture. And contrary to popular belief, America has created their own cultural traditions! It is important to know the importance of sharing your culture, and to know where your traditions come from.