Local traditions and culture in United States of America

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Most Viewed Local Customs in United States of America

  • briantravelman's Profile Photo

    Yard Sales

    by briantravelman Updated May 31, 2014

    Yard sales/garage sales, are a popular tradition, in America. When Americans have a bunch of junk, and old clothes, they don’t want, instead of throwing it away, they set it out in front of their house, or in their garage, and sell it. And they sell EVERYTHING!
    People put ads online, in the local paper, and on street posts, and you'll be surprised, how many people show up.
    I have never done a yard sale before, or even shopped at one. I was never interested in buying other peoples' junk, but this year, a few people on my street were doing one, so I decided to get in on it as well, and tried it, just for the experience. It’s actually pretty fun, and it’s a really good way to meet, and interact with people. It can get really exhausting though, especially the setting up, and picking up, whatever you don't sell.
    I actually didn't do too bad for my first time. I sold a lot of things, and made over $100, more than I would at a thrift store, or pawn shop.
    Yard sales are also the places to come, if you want a deal. Most items sell for a dollar a piece, but some can go for as much as 100, or even more. People sell everything from used clothes, video games, cables, DVDs, CDs, sports and outdoor equipment, books, china, instruments, toys, art, furniture, and even valuable antiques, so you'll never know what you'll find. If the price is a bit high for you, you can always haggle, but be careful that you don't get ripped off. I bought a book, and a VHS tape from my neighbor, for $1.I wouldn't recommend it, if you're looking for high end items, but if you don't mind cheap, used, lower quality items, you can get a really good deal at these things.
    These yard sales can pop up anywhere, any day of the week, but usually take place on Fri, Sat, and Sun, from 8-3, though most customers show up on weekends, between 6 and noon. After noon, it goes dead. It's best to show up early, while all the products are still out. Some yard sales are better than others.
    Most costumers are middle aged and old, white people, but sometimes you will get some younger people. It depends on the neighborhood. I never see any Asians, Indians, or Arabs, at these things.

    I will probably not be doing another yard sale any time soon. It was fun, and we met a lot of cool people, but it's too much work, for too little money, but since it's an American tradition, I had to try it once.

    Fun Fact: The world's longest yard sale is the 127 Yard Sale, which takes place in August, and runs for 690 miles, from Addison, MI to Gadsden, AL., and features thousands of vendors. Their website even has a countdown. Americans really take this yard sale stuff, seriously.

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Thanksgiving in NYC and al.

    by gwened Written Jan 21, 2013

    yes its crowded but if it is your dream trip then by all means try it; it will a treasure.

    For Macy's

    For Thanksgivings

    and al, the tourist office link above.

    for dining out, its been a while for me after living 13 yrs off it, but you can check destinations here for NYC, and this site that I am told its pretty good

    hope it helps

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    California wine -Napa

    by gwened Written Dec 6, 2012

    great wine tasting out of there, Napa is the closest and best for my tastes. My latest drinking right now thanks to my family generosity is Franciscan Estates
    pretty good wines for a Californian ::)

    at this time you can catch the wine train

    other wise you can contact the Napa wine consortium for wine tours

    hope it helps En Vino Veritas

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  • lmkluque's Profile Photo

    Halloween--31 October!

    by lmkluque Updated Nov 11, 2012

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    Halloween as celebrated in the USA always falls on 31 October and is a popular holiday, especially for children. It is celebrated in various ways, influenced by the culture and traditions of other countries and religions. This is the day children (and more recently, adults,) dress up in costume, scary, funny, or cute. The children go from door to door in their neighborhood, "trick-or-treating." They ring each doorbell and yell out, "Trick Or Treat!"

    Ostensibly the idea is that if the neighbor doesn’t give the child a treat, the child will play a trick. The "treats" are usually candy and though it is not very common, some of the "tricks" tend to be toilet papering the house or soaping the car. People who have candies to give out, usually leave the porch light on or have their house decorated with many of this holiday’s symbols that are cute or scary. Lately, there have been fewer "trick-or-treat-ers" in the larger cities because of the various dangers and more church, school and neighborhood parties, which seem to be safer for children.

    Black and Orange are the colors of Halloween and the carved pumpkin is one of the most familiar symbols of this holiday. It is called a "jack-o’-lantern" and seems to come from a traditional Irish legend. Other countries borrowed from are, India: Diwali or Deepavaali, the array of lamps festival, Sicily: Festival of the Dead and Mexico: The Catholic All Souls' Day, but also it seems to have some roots in Aztec traditions.

    If your visit falls on this day, you and your children can experience it by driving—very carefully—through the neighborhoods to see houses decorated and children in costume going from door to door. Another idea is to go to the local school or church which is having a Halloween party. At these parties, the price of admission, food or games is nominal and the proceeds go to help that school, church or it’s charity. UNICEF is one of the charities that children will collect for while trick-or-treating.

    Pumpkin Carved by a Seven Year Old Boy
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  • hunterV's Profile Photo

    In Theaters and Museums

    by hunterV Updated May 29, 2011

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    When you go to a theater or a museum in the United States, you should be aware of the following:

    *** People in theaters and museums usually maintain silence, especially during performances;

    *** If you go to a museum in the United States, especially an art museum, you may be asked to check your bags and umbrellas;

    *** It is against the law to smoke in theaters and museums in the United States.

    In Milwaukee, WI
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  • thinking's Profile Photo


    by thinking Updated Apr 4, 2011

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         The United States had an estimated 5.5 million “stay-at-home” parents last year — 5.4 million moms and 98,000 dads, according to a report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. It contains the Census Bureau’s first-ever analysis of stay-at-home parents.

         Among these stay-at-home parents, 42 percent of mothers and 29 percent of fathers had their own children under age 3 living with them. Thirty-nine percent of mothers and 30 percent of fathers were under age 35.

         Other findings from the report, America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2003:

    After declining sharply between 1970 and 1995, the proportion of family groups with children that were married-couple families has remained stable, at about 68 percent. Since the mid-1990’s, the percentages of single mothers and single fathers have also been fairly level. (Family groups are family units living in households; more than one unit may be included. A family group may include the householder and relatives.)

    The median ages at first marriage were 25.3 years for women and 27.1 years for men in 2003, up from 20.8 years and 23.2 years, respectively, in 1970. As a result, the proportion of young, never-married adults has risen dramatically. For women, ages 20 to 24, it more than doubled, from 36 percent to 75 percent; and for women, ages 30 to 34, it more than tripled, from 6 percent to 23 percent.

    Between 1970 and 2003, the average size of the nation’s households declined from 3.14 people to 2.57 people.

    In 2003, 10 percent of the nation’s households contained five or more people, down from 21 percent in 1970. Sixty percent of households had one or two people in 2003, up from 46 percent in 1970.

    The proportion of households consisting of one person living alone increased from 17 percent in 1970 to 26 percent in 2003.

    There were 4.6 million opposite-sex, unmarried-partner households in 2003. These households accounted for 4.2 percent of all households, up from 2.9 percent in 1996.


    Harry who happy, healthful & a successful American
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  • kenHuocj's Profile Photo

    Bigger, better, @ another world record

    by kenHuocj Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    March 1st, 2005 Steve Fosset will be making a sole flight non stop around the world, flying not be less than the very precise figure of 36,787.559 kilometres (around 23,000 miles) , that's the length of the Tropic of Cancer:
    Phinease Fogg and Friends managed to travel around the world in 80 days, Steve hopes to achieve his feat in 80 hours.

    this is the modern American going one better thanhis previous solo around the world in a balloon,

    Virgin Globalflyer courtesy BBC news

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  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    Flying the Flag

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    We take it for granted, but people from outside the US have commented on the number US flags that are displayed in the United States They are painted on water towers. They fly in front of people's homes and places of business (third photo) and from their car antennas. And you can buy many souvenirs and even clothing with the flag on them. When I want to find a Post Office, I look for a flagpole because almost all post offices have a flagpole in front.

    But even I was surprised when we were driving on a very rural road to suddenly come upon a HUGE flagpole with an enormous flag at the top of it. My husband pointed out that the 'flagpole' was really an antenna, so next time I drove by I pulled off the highway across from it to take a photo (second picture).

    There wasn't much wind, so the flag didn't 'fly' very freely, plus I could see that it was quite tattered. I'm sure that flies 24/7 and is not lowered each night. Since the time I took this picture the flag was worn completely to tatters, and has been replaced with a new one.

    Across the United States, cell towers pass as water towers, clock towers, flagpoles, fake trees and unused chimneys.. A flagpole is apparently less disturbing than an antenna of the same size. So next time you see a giant 'flagpole' and it isn't in front of a car dealership (fifth picture which you will note is backwards because I took it in the car's side mirror), check it out. Maybe it is an antenna.

    Flag painted on a water tower- sunset  Millington American Flag Iwo Jima flag raising on top of a restaurant Flag at Kill Devil Hills NC photo in side car mirror of car dealership
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  • islander1000's Profile Photo

    flag waving

    by islander1000 Updated Apr 4, 2011

    americans are proud of their democracy and personal freedoms (eg to spend big moey on an overdraft) and like to watch people singing the star sprangled banner in front of the flag
    W constantly reminds the world, the USA is the best place to life in. I dispute that.

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  • b1bob's Profile Photo

    State and local sales taxes

    by b1bob Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Each state has its own sales tax and, in some states, the counties can impose sales tax on top of that. Visit the provided site for each state's sales tax rate and the range (if any) that the counties can impose on top of that.

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  • DAO's Profile Photo


    by DAO Updated Jan 11, 2011

    No country loves their flag more than the United States.

    School children recite a Pledge of Allegiance to the FLAG every school day. Not to the country, the President, Congress, Mum, Dad, nope. To the Flag. Essentially the Flag represents all of us (Yes I am American). It represents people, towns, mountains, wildlife, flora, fauna, history, culture, shared values, law, education, sports, art, the military – everything and everyone.

    Most of all it represents FREEDOM. Freedom to agree, disagree or just be weird.

    It is also revered. It represents the men and women who have died in battle, been victims of atrocities or just lived to a good old age. My Grandfather had a fag draped on his coffin. It was folded up – per required triangular folds – and presented to my Grandmother. I didn’t cry until I heard the words “…. This flag is presented to you on behalf of a grateful nation”. My Grandfather had served in World War II in the Navy. The Navy had provided the Flag. It has been in my Grandmother’s bedroom ever since.

    As a child I recited the Pledge of Allegiance and learned to fold the flag in the required triangle. The flag has its own Holiday – sadly now 11 September. My brother’s Birthday and always a proud day in our house when we were children.

    Our National Anthem is about a battle during the War of Independence where the morning after saw our flag still flying. Damaged, but still flying and still in existence. It is of course on display in Washington D.C. today.

    The United States Flag is, always was intended to be, and remains a symbol of quiet respect. No more – no less.

    The great thing? The American Flag has its own Legal Code
    . It is legal to burn the flag under the Constitution. Yes – you have the FREEDOM to burn it. Because America believes in Freedom. It gets better. The PREFERRED way, the respectful way, of getting rid of a damaged American Flag is by burning.

    So when anyone in the world burns an American Flag they are:

    1) Doing it legally
    2) Confirms that America supports the Universal Right to Free Speech
    3) Confirms the Universal Right to believe however you want
    4) Shows the ultimate respect to the American Flag. And my Grandfather.

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  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    a friendly place

    by richiecdisc Written Jun 20, 2010

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    The USA tends to be an informal place. Talking to strangers is pretty common. Even New Yorkers who have a reputation as being too busy to give you the time of day will jabber your ear off if the situation is right. This is especially apparent when traveling in the interior of the USA. The wide open spaces fosters a talkative population. When camping in the National Parks, it's easy to meet people even if you aren't really looking to do it. A good morning or howdy will suffice but be warned: if you're in a hurry don't get that helpful neighbor started. You might not get where you want to on time!

    D on Route 66
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    A tip on tipping

    by melosh Updated Dec 13, 2009

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    Tipping is voluntary but is expected in certain situations.
    The idea is that a tip is a reward for personal service. It is also felt by many that it is a justified supplement for low paid workers.
    When you should or should not tip can depend on the place, time and people involved.
    Do not tip government officials, police officers or good samaritans. Sales people or managers including workers at fast food restaurants do not expect to be tipped. Some tipping of taxi drivers occurs expecially if special service is provided, but more commonly people just round off to next highest nearest dollar. In sit down restaurants with waiters or waitresses tipping generally ranges between 12 and 20% of the food bill. You need not tip on the tax. These workers are paid little salary and they survive on their tips. Usually there is a sharing mechanism so that the tips are shared with all the staff.
    The amount you tip should reflect the service received and the place where you received the service. In general higher percentage tips are expected in bigger cities and fancier restaurants.
    Rarely you may see a "service charge" added to your bill in the European style. Subtract this amount from your tip. Also a fixed 15% tip may be added to the bills for large groups. Again whether you add more depends on what you feel about the service. If the food is not very good and the service poor, tip little if anything unless you feel that the servers were sympathetic and not responsible for the problems.
    Remember, tipping is optional. Do not be intimidated by rude taxi drivers! (See taxi tip under transportation.)

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    by melosh Updated Nov 26, 2009

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    The main cultural celebration we have in the USA in October is Halloween. The roots of this go far into the pagan history of Europe. After Christianity arrived a kind of counter celebration developed around the idea that it was the time to celebrate "all saints". Kind of like a memorial day for the religious good people who have died. I do not think that in America the religious idea of Halloween gained much acceptance.

    As a child it seemed that Halloween was a universal celebration of whatever could be imaginatively scary and a windfall of sweet treats beyond my wildest dreams. It included cutting pumpkins into scary faces and having a night when ghosts and goblins roamed the streets. I think in those times every child was dressed up in a costume and would be taken to go door to door with a bag in hand and the greeting "Trick or Treat?" in the mouth. The trick was suppose to be a threat to do something bad to the homeowner but no one ever did a trick. Everyone received a gift of small candy or fruit. There were probably areas in America where this did not happen, but it did seem to me as a child that every kid got to do it.

    Since my childhood there have been changes. Because of the fear of children going up to the houses of strangers people have been trying to substitute costume parties. Many households just turn out their lights and do not answer the door during the night of "trick or treating". Some religious groups oppose Halloween because they see it as a celebration of evil. This has caused schools to back away from the celebration so as to not be accused of promoting a religiously condemned celebration.

    Another complaint that people level against this tradition in the USA is its apparent commercialization. They see it as a way to sell lots of candy and costumes that has lost any of its tradition meanings.

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    Eating Out at Restaurants

    by hunterV Updated Jul 21, 2009

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    In general, to express satisfaction with service, it is expected that patrons will give wait staff at full service restaurants a tip of 15 - 20 % of the bill.
    It is also customary to give bartenders a 10 to 15 % tip. Small tips are also given to coat check attendants ($ 1) and car park attendants (the same amount).
    It is not customary to tip in fast food restaurants. Customers of these restaurants are expected to dispose of the waste from their meals and stack their trays.

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