Traditions are big in my family. We do everything from waking up early to run (or in my case run-walk… ok, ok maybe just walk) in the Turkey Trot, to watching the NYC Macy’s Day Parade on one TV and of course the good ‘ol Detroit Lions on another. Whatever your family traditions are, here are some of the most common ones that occur on Thanksgiving Day!
1. Turkey and Trimmings
From the first Thanksgiving to today’s turkey burgers, turkeys are an American tradition dating back centuries. According to the National Turkey Federation, 95 percent of Americans eat turkey at Thanksgiving. Regional twists offer variations on the traditional roasted bird, including coffee rubbed turkey from Hawaii, salt encrusted turkey from New England, and deep fried turkey from the South.
2. Time Out for the Pigskin
Throughout the United States, football on Thanksgiving Day is as big a part of the celebration as turkey and pumpkin pie. Dating back to the first intercollegiate football championship held on Thanksgiving Day in 1876, traditional holiday football rivalries have become so popular that a reporter once called Thanksgiving “a holiday granted by the State and the Nation to see a game of football.” There is nothing quite like the way Thanksgiving brings families together to give thanks for all the things they have to be thankful for. For some, it’s their health, their career, or their friends. For most, though, it’s the very family members they are gathered together with that they are most thankful for.
• The Detroit Lions of the American National Football League have hosted a game every Thanksgiving Day since 1934 (except 1939-1944, during World War II).
• The Dallas Cowboys have hosted a game every Thanksgiving Day since 1966 (except 1975 and 1977).
3. Parading Around
The first American Thanksgiving Day parade was held in 1920, organized by Gimbel’s Department Store in Philadelphia, not Macy’s as most people believe. The NYC Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade tradition actually began in 1924, and has grown into an annual event of balloons, bands, and floats, enjoyed by more than 46 million people each year in person and on TV.
4. Making a Wish
Does your family fight over the wishbone from the Thanksgiving turkey? Known as a “lucky break” the tradition of tugging on either end of a fowl’s bone to win the larger piece and its accompanying “wish” dates back to the Etruscans of 322 B.C. The Romans brought the tradition with them when they conquered England and the English colonists carried the tradition on to America.
5. Giving Thanks
Last, but certainly not least, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for the people and blessings of the past year. From pre-meal prayers to providing holiday meals to the homeless, the holiday is truly a celebration of praise and thanksgiving.