17 Cultural Traditions That May Disappear From Modern America

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By Jonathan Trent

American culture has witnessed constant evolution throughout the years, with purists doing all they can, often unsuccessfully, to maintain some of the country’s most iconic traditions. Here are 17 cultural traditions that are on the brink of disappearance in modern America.

Drive-In Theaters

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Drive-in theaters have become a relic of past American society, reaching their heyday in the ‘50s and ‘60s, according to History. Nowadays, people are reluctant to indulge in the charm of it all, preferring to stay at home and watch movies on streaming sites instead.

Cajun Culture in Louisiana

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Louisiana is a culturally rich area, having once been under the rule of the French and the Spanish. Different areas had different dialects and cultural traditions, many of which have been phased out by globalization and the state’s adoption of US-wide cultural norms.

County Fairs

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Once upon a time, county fairs were a staple of the American summertime, as the community would gather to socialize, show off their harvests, and embrace small-town lifestyles. However, since technology has begun keeping people inside, they have been on the decline. Despite this, Michigan State University claims they are important for both community spirit and economic prosperity.

Barn Raisings

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In times gone by, entire communities in rural areas would have come together to help build a barn for one of the townspeople. This tradition is well and truly on the decline with small towns becoming more populated and less tight-knit, as well as modern construction techniques requiring professional expertise to execute.

Amish Lifestyles

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The Amish lifestyle seen in rural areas of the USA is still very basic, with the community vehemently opposing modern technology. In a Guardian interview, one Amish community member claimed their faith would be lost if they modernized. With the world becoming more technologically dependent, it remains to be seen how long they can continue to ignore it.

Handwritten Letters

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It’s painfully easy to see why letter writing in the United States is on the decline. Instant messaging and emails have made the idea of waiting for a letter to arrive seem long and pointless. As CBS reports, 37% of Americans haven’t written and sent a letter in the last five years.

Appalachian Folk Music

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As the population of the United States has risen and time has passed, many traditional cultures have struggled to keep themselves alive, including the culture of the Appalachian people. Their traditional folk music is no longer being passed down as readily to younger generations, leaving it at risk of disappearing.

Quilting Bees

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Quilting bees started in the early colonial times when women would congregate socially while sewing quilted blankets. Not only is quilting seen as a dying art form, but women are also no longer restricted to partaking in domestic activities such as sewing.

Stargazing by the Fire

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Unfortunately, American culture has descended to a point where screen time is seen as more valuable than spending hours chatting and eating with friends and family under the vastness of the stars by a fire. It remains to be seen whether there will be an outdoor renaissance, but the way things are digitizing looks unlikely.

Native American Ceremonies

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The destruction of the Native American communities remains one of the biggest tragedies of the last few centuries, with the colonization of the US almost putting an end to native rituals entirely. With fewer and fewer people observing rituals, Native American traditions are on the verge of dying out. 


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While the word ‘cowboy’ conjures up images of shootouts outside saloons in the Wild West, the outlaw lifestyle was dying out by the turn of the 20th century. However, modern cowboy lifestyles operating in the rural areas of America’s southern states are also on the decline. 

Front Porch Conversations

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Before screens took over people’s lives, making them more insular and less community-driven, neighbors would often spend their days sitting on their front porch chatting the hours away. The modernization and increasing speed of life is doing its best to put an end to this tradition.


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Canning season, usually taking place in the Fall months as people would preserve the last of their summer produce for the winter, is rapidly dying out. The convenience of supermarket-bought canned products and the reduction in people growing their own produce has sadly put an end to a wholesome family tradition.

Milk Delivery

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Years ago, before most households owned refrigerators, people would have their fresh milk delivered to them by a milkman. While the job of the milkman survived for as long as it could, it has all but faded into irrelevance, as most people buy their milk from the local supermarket instead.

Hula Dancing

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Hawaii has long been trying to preserve its traditions in the modern world, fighting back against the Americanization of the island. It has been tough, and will likely get tougher, but introducing traditional Hula dancing into the curriculum in schools is a positive step forward.

Religious Christmases

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Traditionally, Christmas Day in the United States was centered around celebrating the birth of Jesus. However, commercialization is turning people’s heads away from the true meaning of Christmas, as it has now become more about giving presents than celebrating religion.

Burlesque Shows

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Burlesque shows were hugely popular in the USA between the 1840s and the 1930s, before their decline began. The once shocking shows soon began to look pretty mild in a more liberated US, with modern attempts at the genre’s revival proving unsuccessful.