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Holidays as Part of American Society
Celebrating holidays is an important part of being an American. According to Shelley, Boyer, and Casper, holidays play an important role in society since they help to mark progress, foster unity, and resolve tensions (315). American holidays are authorized by the important institutions in the country. These institutions are the church, the home, corporations, and the nation. Since the majority of Americans are Christians, some dates in the calendar year commemorating important religious events have been set as holiday days. They include Christmas and Easter holidays which are celebrated by a significant portion of the population.
The home has a number of celebrations, including birthdays, engagements, and weddings. Organizations where people work, give their employees holiday days that can be spent in leisure. The government has declared a number of national holidays, including the Independence Day celebrations on July 4th and the Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday of November. Holidays provide some important benefits to individuals and society. People engage in festivities and merrymaking during the holidays. Since the celebrations are communal, the holidays help to promote unity in the country. National holidays such as the Fourth of July celebrations make citizens proud of being Americans. The bonds of family are also strengthened during holidays as people make time to be with their families in celebration. When people are given work holidays, most of them choose to go on vacation.
This provides them with a chance to get rid of the tensions that had built up during the workdays. In addition to this, it provides them with a chance to relax and enjoy some of the money they have worked hard for. After the holidays, people are full of energy and ready to resume their productive lives. The holidays are, therefore, an important aspect of American life, and they contribute to making the nation great.
The Importance of Sports to American Culture
Sports are an important aspect of American society and its culture. Americans devote significant amounts of their personal free time to sporting activities. The most popular sports include baseball, football, and basketball. Americans value sports for various reasons, and parents introduce their children to sporting activities at an early age. Schools also provide a wide range of sporting options for students. For these reasons, sports are deeply ingrained in the psyche of millions of Americans. The USADA reports that over 60% of the adult population in the US engages in sport-related activities, with 25% being actively engaged (10). Watching sporting events is a favorite pastime for Americans of all age groups. Most people have their favorite teams that they support by buying tickets to watch matches.
There are numerous reasons why people engage in sports or become sports fans. Americans understand that engaging in sports contributes to improving physical and mental health. A survey by the USADA reveals that most Americans embrace sporting activities since they bring about fun and enjoyment (13). In addition to this, Americans are also able to fulfill their personal desires by watching sports or becoming fans of their favorite teams. The USADA notes that by seeing their favorite teams or athletes win, individuals feel that they themselves are winners (11). Spectators also see athletes as representing some of the important American values such as hard work, sacrifice, and fair play.
There are many benefits attributed to being involved in sporting activities. Through sports, Americans are able to learn valuable life lessons such as the value of cooperation and hard work. Involvement in sports also increases personal satisfaction since it is a source of fun and enjoyment for the individual. Society benefits from increased unity due to sports. When playing various games, people have to come together and interact with each other. In this way, sports bring people together, and they are able to relate with each other, which leads to a strengthening of the community. Spectators supporting the same team are also able to create bonds with each other.
The Value of Individualism for American Culture
The final value that represents an important part of the American culture is individualism. From an early age, Americans are taught to regard themselves as unique entities in the world. They are taught to be responsible and take control of what happens to them. Then declares that individualism is probably the most important value to Americans (5). Each person is brought up with the belief that he or she has to be strong and independent in order to succeed in life.
Althen (2001) observes that from an early age, Americans are taught how to make independent decisions on various issues. Once a person reaches adulthood, he or she is not expected to rely on the opinions of his parents or friends. Instead, he should form his own opinions and pursue a career that interests him the most. This spirit of individualism is praised by society, and being dependent on others is discouraged. This individualism causes Americans to have a number of features. Because of individualism, Americans are highly competitive. Each person knows that through personal efforts, he or she can achieve success in any aspect of life, including career, family, or education. In many aspects of life, people view themselves as being in competition with others, and everyone works hard to emerge at the top. There are numerous benefits to American individualism.
To begin with, the society does not have many burdens since each person tries to be independent and earn their own living. Althen reveals that it is not unusual for grown children living with their parents to pay rent as a demonstration of their independence and self-reliance (7). When it comes to higher education, parents do not have to struggle to pay the college fees of their students as most students work to make their tuition fees. The competition created by individualism leads to high innovation by Americans. People are always trying to be better than others in all aspects of life.
This paper set out to talk about some of the most important American customs. It started by noting while the US is an immigrant nation that has the most diverse population, it has managed to invent its own customs and values. The three values that have inspired me the most are holidays, sports, and individualism. Through this paper, I have explained what these values mean and how they impact individuals in the country. The benefits of these spirits include promoting unity, bringing about enjoyment, promoting good health, and encouraging innovation. These American customs have played a role in making this country great and prosperous. The spirits have made this country, which is made up of people from differing cultures and races, identify as a single unique community. Due to the important benefits that the customs give to individuals and society, they should be highly appreciated.
Althen, Gary. “American Values and Assumptions.” New Directions: Reading, Writing, and Critical Thinking. Ed. Peter Gardner. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. 5-13. Print.
Shelley, Rubin, Paul Boyer and Scott Casper. The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Print.
United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA). What Sport Means in America: A Study of Sport’s Role in Society. Florida: Discovery Education, 2011. Print.