Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated with a blend of family, food, and traditions, some of which are deeply rooted in history. But, if you think this holiday is all about the turkey and pumpkin pie, you’re in for a surprise. There are also some more unique and unexpected customs that have found their way into the Thanksgiving celebration.
Traditions surrounding Thanksgiving.
Over time, families and close-knit groups of friends often create their unique Thanksgiving customs, which they observe annually. Many families engage in acts of giving back by volunteering at local food banks or shelters, to share their good fortune with those in need. Some base their day around the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, a tradition since 1924. Then, there’s the age-old custom of partaking in or watching a friendly game of touch football with friends and family. It has also become synonymous with Thanksgiving, creating opportunities for connection and fun.
Commonly practiced annual traditions that some deem as unusual.
Despite the presence of commonly practiced annual traditions, there are some customs that may strike certain people as unusual. For instance, consider the annual Presidential Turkey Pardon, officially known as the “National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation.” On Thanksgiving Day, the President extends clemency to a specially selected turkey, sparing it from becoming the centerpiece of a meal and ensuring that it lives out its days freely on a farm.
According to the National Turkey Federation, this tradition started in 1947 when President Harry Truman received a live turkey from them. In 1963, President Kennedy returned the gift from the National Turkey Federation to its farm of origin, according to the White House website. Sometime during the Nixon administration, the President began sending the turkey to a petting farm near Washington after the receiving ceremony and photos, although no formal pardon was given. President George H.W. Bush offered the first actual turkey pardon. On November 14, 1989, he declared that year’s turkey had “been granted a presidential pardon as of right now.”
But this is just the start when it comes to unusual Thanksgiving customs. Check out the following list for even more unique and eccentric traditions associated with the Thanksgiving holiday.