There are some things that make this country a spectacular sight to behold. We have monuments that stand to show our history as one of strength, beautiful natural parks that stretch across the rugged and wonderful landscape, and passionate citizens truly blessed to live in the greatest country in the world.
Another aspect of these United States that captures the spirit of its people are our traditions that we hold dear. They reflect our history as a nation and serve to bring us together in celebration.
We have many holidays that the world celebrates with us, but Thanksgiving is all our own. We take the time to gather and show thankfulness to each other and our country, and we get to eat delicious food, too!
This time of year is full of little traditions, some grand, others wacky, but all of them a part of what makes America great. So let's take a look at how all these strange and wonderful customs have come to be!
Thanksgiving Day Parades
Perhaps the most popular of all traditions are the parades that every city, town, and neighborhood seem to put together just for this one day of coming-together.
There is the historically accurate America's Hometown Thanksgiving Parade that happens in Plymouth, the first Pilgrim settlement erected in 1620. It is a grand event, that incorporates a military flyover, floats, and people wearing the traditional Pilgrim garb. They host a series of historical reenactments from some of the most important moments in our country's legacy.
Of course, no one can forget the Macy's Parade. This outstanding showcase of Americanism and popular culture is a famous aspect of not only the holiday, but the country in general.
It all started in 1924 when the new Macy's was set to open and the company wanted to celebrate with a march that used floats and live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo. Since then, it has become the most well-known parade in the country.
The day after Thanksgiving should probably be spent in bed, resting and digesting after seeing the in-laws and filling up on large quantities of stuffing. But many choose to brave the elements and fight their way to amazing deals at malls across the country.
Black Friday has almost become a holiday by itself, and has been made infamous by the enthusiasm some people have had for getting huge discounts on products, at the expense of their health and safety.
While the day is often overshadowed by the violence that breaks out, the deals on merchandise are really incredible. You can read all about it here!
Just remember, gifts are about the thought, not the fight!
Ever wonder why there is always a game playing on Thanksgiving? The tradition goes all the way back to 1934. The Detroit Lions had just from Ohio and were having some trouble drawing in crowds, having to compete with the Detroit Tigers baseball team for attention.
The team's owner decided that the best approach to take would be a big game on the popular holiday to give everyone at home something to watch on their new television sets. They went head to head with the Chicago Bears and the public response was overwhelming!
The Lion's have made sure to keep the tradition alive, hosting a game every year on Thanksgiving, and it has become so popular that other teams eventually began copying the idea to increase their fan turnout. Not that we needed another reason to get together and watch Americas favorite pasttime!
So the story goes that Abraham Lincoln (who first declared the national holiday) had a son with a pet turkey. Despite the household eyeing the fine-feathered friend as a potential dinner, President Lincoln decided that the bond between boy and bird was too precious to end quite so suddenly.
He gave the flightless creature an official pardon from the highest office in the land, and everyone loved the mercy and hilarity of it all.
It is believed that the tradition really started becoming a regular thing since Harry Truman, but it has definitely reached a new level of popularity in recent years.
Not only is it broadcast to the whole country as a symbolic act of compassion, the whole country is asked to join in to help name the lucky turkey. Over the years, people have been creative )(and a little bit dark) with names like Biscuit and Gravy, Stars and Stripes, Apple and Cider, and this years survivor, Drumstick.