Popular Traditions That Are Newer Than You Think

There are numerous societal traditions that many of us hold near and dear to our hearts. We grew up on them, developed precious memories around them and they basically defined our entire childhood and the majority of our adult lives in general. Most people understandably assume that these traditions go many generations back but you’d be surprised to know that they’re a lot newer than you’ve been led to believe. Below are five such examples.

1. Trick-Or-Treating

Halloween itself is pretty ancient which originally began as a Celtic holiday from the Middle Ages where people dressed up as ghosts and other malevolent entities to drive away unwelcoming spirits. The modern act of trick-or-treating didn’t come into play until the early 1930s but that didn’t last very long. Twenty years later, at the height of the post-war baby boom, the sudden increase in children led to a revival of the holiday, this time accompanied by walking house to house asking for candies from strangers.

2. Birthday Song

The “Happy Birthday Song” usually results in two distinct reactions: people who love it and relish in the attention or those who dread it and shy away from the limelight. Either way, it’s a fun song that brings everyone together for a good old-fashioned birthday celebration. It’s not an oldie either—the birthday song didn’t make its way into the public consciousness until the mid-20th century. As for the lyrics? It’s not exactly original, but another story for another day.

3. Diamond Engagement Rings

We’ve all seen it before. Whether in person or in movies—someone getting down on one knee to propose to the love of their life with a flashy diamond ring. It’s safe to assume that the diamond engagement ring is some ancient practice. Sorry to burst your bubble but this is the work of De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd. who sought to change the public’s view on the previously unattractive diamond. They did this by hiring advertisers in the 1930s to make the diamond seem desirable and effectively sway the public’s opinion. Think of it what you will, but there’s no denying that this was definitely an effective marketing strategy.

4. Drinking On Saint Patrick’s Day

Although Saint Patrick’s Day is an Irish holiday, the tradition of drinking on that day is anything but Irish! In Ireland, pubs are often closed on the holiday due to its religious nature. But in America, it was already tradition to drink during these types of holidays including Lent, Easter and later on Saint Patrick’s Day. And in a case of irony, the American culture rubbed off on Ireland, one that proved to stand the test of time.

5. Santa

Santa Claus is based on Saint Nicholas who has been around for centuries. But it wasn’t until a few decades ago that we started depicting him as a white-bearded, jolly old man draped in a red and white attire. So where did this idea come from? The credit goes to none other than Coca-Cola. Yep, that’s right! In 1932, as part of a promotional advertisement, the company featured a character in their classic red and white colors to promote one of their products. Little did they know that they were on to something iconic!



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