Thanksgiving Traditions

— Written By and last updated by Elisabeth Purser
en Español / em Português

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What are the traditions your family celebrates every Thanksgiving? Mine is the big family gathering for a meal that truly is a feast, with more food than any of us need. Then visiting, napping, and watching football in the afternoon!

How about these traditions?

  • Turkey trot races are held in many communities and vary in length, but the endorphins that make you feel good are universal. The oldest known Turkey Trot footrace took place in Buffalo, New York, and has been happening every year since 1896.
  • Documentation of our Presidents pardoning a pair of turkeys only goes back as far as George H. W. Bush, but the story goes that the pardoning of the turkeys goes back at least as far as President Harry Truman.
  • Don’t forget the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, the National Dog Show, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday (don’t forget to shop local!), and Cyber Monday. There are a group that also support Buy Nothing Day on the Friday after Thanksgiving in protest of consumerism.
  • There is quite a history as to how Thanksgiving ended up being celebrated onTurkey the last Thursday in November. Although the first unofficial Thanksgiving was held in 1621, President George Washington declared that the United States would celebrate a day of Thanksgiving on Nov 26, 1789. Through the years various Presidents selected different days and even months for the Thanksgiving celebration. Finally in 1941, Congress passed a joint resolution declaring that the entire nation would celebrate Thanksgiving on just one day, the 4th Thursday of November.

I hope you have a joyful Thanksgiving and that you enjoy your traditions with your family and friends.