From Halloween to Black Friday: How the UK Embraces US Traditions
The Americans are coming, Glasgow. With every passing year, we adopt little slices of US culture a little bit more and embrace them as if they were our own. With Christmas on the horizon, this is especially prevalent of course, with Yankee traditions coming thick and fast at every turn.
It’s not a wholly modern phenomenon of course, although it does seem to have sped up in recent years. America is a country that does entertainment and events bigger and better than anyone else, so why shouldn’t Britain take on a piece of the action, especially as we are so culturally aligned?
Indeed, the idea of a big night on the town just a week or so after Christmas seemed like a ridiculous idea just a couple of generations ago. The no-holds-barred nature of modern New Year’s bashes goes far and above what was laid on in years gone by and this is in no small part due to popular culture and the wide-eyed images of the ‘ball dropping‘ in Times Square.
Another major American festival that has gone some way to gazumping an old-fashioned British tradition is that of Halloween. ‘Penny for the Guy’ seems to be wheedling its way out of the national consciousness in favour of trick or treaters and fancy dress parties. Again, this is hardly surprising given the prominence of Halloween in Western popular culture. Movies are of course the main influence here, with British-made horror films such as The Woman In Black and 28 Days Later having followed the lead of Hollywood and bringing horror back into the mainstream of independent filmmaking in this country.
It doesn’t end here, of course, and the British television and gaming industries have also followed the trend to make huge investments in Halloween culture. Trick or Treat is just one of the Halloween-inspired online slots UK site Mr Smith Casino offers alongside Vampire and Halloween itself. This extends to the vast UK video gaming market, with titles such as We Happy Few being one of the most anticipated upcoming games to be released 2018.
And it doesn’t stop at Halloween. High street stores across Glasgow are gearing themselves up for Black Friday, when Scottish shoppers from all over the country will descend on the capital to get a hand on the best deals ahead of Christmas. This again is a hugely American tradition brought over here only in the last few years that contributes around £3.3bn to the UK economy.
Glaswegians looking forward to the Glasgow Loves Christmas event have America to thank, with these ‘winter wonderland’ fetes having been shipped in from New England over the last few years. Indeed, they are scheduled to land all over Scotland in the coming weeks, with Edinburgh’s Christmas Wonderland a hugely popular event over the hill. It’s a pleasant tradition now steeped in British culture and is especially good fun for kids.
From a trip to the coffee house to the school prom, there doesn’t seem to be any sign that US influence on British culture is slowing. With the joys of Halloween fresh in the memory and a sprinkling of Christmas events around the corner, long may it continue.