Every culture has their customs: from how they eat, shop, or celebrate holidays. But did you know Americans have a few things other countries raise their eyebrows at? It’s true.
Here are 5 American customs and traditions overseas travelers may find a little odd:
In America, we celebrate everything “baby”, starting with a gender reveal with family and friends, name reveals after the baby is born, all the way to the over-the-top annual birthday parties! But let’s not forget the baby shower. A day devoted to “showering” gifts on the mom-to-be as she prepares for the birth of her child.
Whereas in Israel, families don’t even talk about baby names or set up the nursery until the baby is born. They feel the American way is a “counting your chickens before they hatch” mentality, which can come back to bite you in a worst case scenario.
The day after Thanksgiving, shoppers head out in droves to claim steeply discounted merchandise for Christmas. A cheery, exciting day to bond with family and physically fight your way to the best deals. But Black Friday was not a positive term when originally coined in the 1950s. Back then, the mobs of shoppers and spectators out for the Army-Navy football game in Philly made it chaos for the police force. But retailer spun it into a positive by the 1980s. Yes, we still see the reports on chaos, but we don’t necessarily feel bad about it.
Whether we should is another question…
The Pumpkin Craze
You either love pumpkin or hate it. Since 2011, the pumpkin obsession has grown almost 80% – as measured in sales of pumpkin products by Nielson. What started out as a Halloween tradition quickly moved to a Thanksgiving dessert and then exploded with the pumpkin spice craze. Marketers capitalize on the pumpkin craze from the beginning of fall well into the winter.
If you don’t finish your meal, at many restaurants you are automatically asked by the waiter if you would like to take the rest home. And it’s normal to say yes. It means you don’t have to buy lunch the next day. Score!
Well, in certain countries, taking home food is a no-no. According to the manager of a fancy restaurant in Moscow, “We use fresh, high-quality products here. It makes no sense to let it grow old. Pasta dies after 20 minutes; things lose their taste.” Europeans believe it to be a health hazard and a way to avoid unnecessary food poisoning.
Coffee on the Go
Starbucks has changed the way we “coffee”. A quick stop at your local beanery, and your day is underway as you go out to win the business world. But overseas? Forget about it. Coffee is meant to be savored. It’s a way to socialize and relax. Most cafés don’t have cardboard cups, leaving you out of luck if you want to caffeinate on the run.
More Ice, Please!
In America, we love our ice. From iced tea to ice-filled fountain sodas to a refreshing glass of water, you can get a cold drink most anywhere drinks are served. But in many other areas of the world, iced drinks are nowhere to be found – in fact in many countries putting ice in your water is thought to be unhealthy.