In sociological terms, there is a difference between what is normal, and what follows the norm.

Thesocietypages.org puts it the following way:

Sociologists distinguish between the terms norm, normal, and normative.

• The norm refers to what is common or frequent. For example, celebrating Christmas is the norm in America.

Normal is opposed to abnormal. Even though celebrating Christmas is the norm, it is not abnormal to celebrate Hanukkah. To celebrate Hanukkah is perfectly normal.

That leaves open that question of what adjective one can use to describe something as following the norm. E.g. In America, the BLANK midwinter celebration is Christmas.

  • You have picked on a ‘bifurcated’ concept. In the Oxford online English dictionary, ‘norm’ means both what is ‘typical’ (from which we get the adjective ‘normal’) and what is ‘required’ or ‘expected’ (from which we get ‘normative’. It comes from the Latin ‘norma’, meaning a rule or precept, or a carpenter’s square. It’s use seems to begin as late as the 19th century.
    – Tuffy
    Commented May 14, 2019 at 12:54

2 Answers 2


You can try standard (as in standard practice):

Used or accepted as normal or average.

(source: Oxford Dictionaries)


As far as English language usage goes, it's actually perfectly fine to say "normal" in this case.

Saying "the normal celebration" refers to one definition of the word normal which means precisely "conforming to the norm." The use of the definite article implies that there is a single norm and you are talking about that specific thing.

There is another definition of normal, which simply means "not abnormal." That is the definition used to describe Hanukkah in your example.

In America, the normal midwinter celebration is Christmas. It is also perfectly normal to celebrate Hanukkah.

There are a few other words I can think of that would fit into your blank:

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