USA Gifting Culture
The traditional US holiday season is also the gifting season. It begins when Thanksgiving and then moves on to Christmas and ends with New Years Eve. Modern media has extended this season of tradition and culture to the St Valentine's Day too.
American culture and customs dictate presenting family and friends and business associates with well thought out gifts during holiday season. The American cultural melting pot has inspired other American ethnic minorities such as Hispanics, American-Italian, American-Japanese, American-Chinese, America- Asians (Koreans, Vietnamese, and Indian) to incorporate the modern western cultural elements of gifting, and celebrations in their own festivities.
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History of Thanksgiving Tradition
Thanksgiving celebration is an inherent part of American culture. It is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November each year. In Canada it is celebrated on second Monday in October. The US history links the origin of Thanksgiving year 1621 meal held with native Wampanoag Indians and the Pilgrims who settled in Plymouth Massachusetts to thank the Lord for bountiful harvest.
Elaborate family dinner on Thanksgiving is essential part of modern American culture as is gifting of Thanksgiving baskets. The traditional recipe includes a meal consists of pumpkin pies and turkeys which are stuffed with breadcrumbs and roasted. Other American ethnicities such as Italian-Americans often have lasagna and Ashkenazi Jews may serve noodle kugel, while in African American families, spaghetti and meatballs are served.
People give Thanksgiving gifts, gift baskets, baskets with flowers and food items, flowers, cards to their loved ones, cake on their wedding or anniversary, chocolates for birthday and perfumes, spa gifts for her, wines for him and the reason behind this exchange of gifts is to show appreciation.
The Christmas Tradition
Christmas is a most important religious holy day for Christians, which marks the birth of Jesus. In Western culture celebrations include gift giving, decorating homes with Christmas trees, display of Nativity sets, church attendance, Santa Claus myth, and family gatherings.
The American culture has a tradition of going home for Christmas that is specially cherished. The food on Christmas table is almost like a Thanksgiving feast of turkey or ham, potatoes and pie. Christmas table is complete only with lots of desserts, and baked breads and cookies hot from the oven.
Gifting is most important ritual during Christmas. Parents usually gift children the latest gadgets or favorite food item or fashionable clothes. People also buy gifts for their relatives that is normally the form of gourmet food, jewelry, clothes, books or CDs.
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Mother's Day in Modern America
In the United States Mothers Day is held on the second Sunday of May. American culture dictates that Mothers be given gifts on this day. Traditionally mothers are given a day off from the housework by their families and treated to breakfast in bead.
Mother's day tradition calls for the gifting red roses and carnations. Some children make a gift for their mother or buy it. In fact mother's day gifting and gift making and baking cakes or making/gifting exotic food items is a major part of Mother's day in USA.
The origin of Mother's Day tradition in the American culture can be traced back to the history of unrelenting efforts of two women, Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis who campaigned for Mother's Day to be declared a National holiday.
Valentine's Day Gifting in Western Culture
Valentine's Day or Saint Valentine's Day falls on February 14th. The day is named after two Christian martyrs, both named Valentine this was initially celebrated only in Western culture. On this day lovers express their romantic love ideas in form of "Valentines" which could take form of love notes, greeting cards, flowers and gifts. The most popular Valentine gifts are chocolates and roses but diamonds and jewelry getting popular as gifting items.
Americans celebrate holiday season but it is also the time when the ethnic minorities of American cultural melting pot join the celebrations. Christian and Non Christian minorities with Asian origins such as Koreans, Japanese, Chinese and Indians, Hispanics etc take part in celebrating Christmas and giveChristmas gifts and Thanksgiving festivities and exchange gifts. African Americans too celebrate Christmas but they have alternative Christmas called Kwanzaa too.
Written by : Grace Nancy