Thanksgiving Traditions

Today’s article is about the traditions and symbols of Thanksgiving. I know that many families have their own special traditions. For my husband’s family Thanksgiving was about eating a lot of food and watching the Cowboys play. Thanksgiving for my family was a little bit different. Earlier in the week it usually included the annual church Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving Day was about family and what we did depended on who was hosting Thanksgiving. According to About.com the top 5 family Thanksgiving traditions include: turkey dinner with all the trimmings, football, parades, turkey wishbone, and giving thanks.(1)

So did the Pilgrims really eat turkey for the First Thanksgiving? Well, maybe. The pilgrims used the term turkey to refer to any form of wild bird. It may have been a goose or duck. (2) The “lucky break” or playing tug a war with the wishbone is a tradition that pre-dates American observances of Thanksgiving. The person who gets the bigger pieces of the bone is supposed to have good luck. (3) Another turkey related tradition is the annual presidential pardon. Some sources claim this tradition began when President Lincoln pardoned his son Tad’s pet turkey. Other sources site President Truman as the originator neither tradition can be substantiated. (4).

Ok, so maybe the pilgrims didn’t eat turkey. They had to eat pumpkin pie, right? They did eat pumpkin however it wasn’t pie. By the, this time their supply of flour was long gone, so they did not have anyway to make the crust. They couldn’t just go to the store and buy a ready made crust. (5)

One of the favorite Thanksgiving traditions in our house was to watch the Macy’s Parade. However the first Thanksgiving Day parade was held in 1920 by Gimbel’s Department Store in Philadelphia. (6) The Macy’s Parade has been a tradition since 1924. 1927 heralded the arrival Macy’s first balloon, Felix the Cat. The parade took a break during World War II. It post-war return in 1945 was the first parade to be broadcast. (7)

Football is a Thanksgiving favorite with many Americans.. The first recorded Thanksgiving Day game occurred in 1876. It was the first intercollegiate championship game. (8)

Notes

  1. Kimberly Powell, Top 5 Family Thanksgiving Traditions [available on-line http://genealogy.about.com/od/holidays/tp/thanksgiving.htm, last accessed 19 November 2007]
  2. Jerry Wilson, The Thanksgiving Story [available on-line http://wilstar.com/holidays/thankstr.htm, last accessed on 19 November 2007.]
  3. Kimberly Powell, Top 5 Family Thanksgiving Traditions [available on-line http://genealogy.about.com/od/holidays/tp/thanksgiving.htm, last accessed 19 November 2007]
  4. Borgna Brunner, Presidential Pardon [available on-line http://www.infoplease.com/spot/tgturkey2.html, last accessed 19 November 2007]
  5. Jerry Wilson, The Thanksgiving Story [available on-line http://wilstar.com/holidays/thankstr.htm,, last accessed on 19 November 2007.]
  6. Kimberly Powell, Top 5 Family Thanksgiving Traditions [available on-line http://genealogy.about.com/od/holidays/tp/thanksgiving.htm, last accessed 19 November 2007]
  7. John Gettings, Thanksgiving Day Parade [available on-line http://www.infoplease.com/spot/tgparade.html,, last accessed 19 November 2007]
  8. Kimberly Powell, Top 5 Family Thanksgiving Traditions [available on-line http://genealogy.about.com/od/holidays/tp/thanksgiving.htm, last accessed 19 November 2007]

Author: TheDeeZone

I write about things I find interesting this include music, movies, cooking, religion, news and whatever else pops in my ADHD brain. As a my tagline says: "The musings of an ADHD mind."I'm never really sure what is will catch my interest.

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