6 quirky turkey Thanksgiving traditions

6 quirky turkey Thanksgiving traditions

6 quirky turkey Thanksgiving traditions
November 21
15:20 2018

With pumpkin pies and turkeys in abundant supply in supermarkets across the U.S. this Thanksgiving season, many favored and annual traditions will re-emerge once again. While Thanksgiving is a time for families to connect by gorging on carbtastic delicacies, the holiday is also the father to many popular yet peculiar activities. From the White House turkey pardoning and Thanksgiving masking to breaking the wishbone, the holiday is about more than giving thanks. What better way to celebrate the upcoming holiday by exploring Thanksgiving’s most popular and peculiar customs and practices:

If you wish upon a bone

Breaking the wishbone has been a popular practice for decades and even has historical significance. Ancient Romans believed that wishbones symbolize luck and that breaking one in two would facilitate a wish come true. Here’s how it works: Two people pull on either side of the bone and pull until it snaps. The person with a longer piece is bestowed an omen of good luck and good fortune, while the unfortunate latter receives nothing. It is similar to drawing straws, but with added pizzazz. The Pilgrims established this tradition by breaking a turkey wishbone, and the rest is history! This Thanksgiving, revisit this old favorite and try your hand at luck and good fortune for the holidays.

Fowl presidential pardonings

Who doesn’t love watching the leader of the free world give respite to a turkey? Turkey pardoning is a bipartisan issue, as turkey freedom is encouraged by all. The annual White House turkey pardoning ceremony is most the ludicrous yet undeniably hilarious tradition of Thanksgiving. The idea to select and spare a lucky turkey emerged during Reagan’s presidency, but president George W. Bush solidified the humorous practice of an official pardoning ceremony. Despite its congressional theme, this tradition is considered to be satiric. Press, cameras and turkeys adorned with vibrant flowers all make up the spectacle of the event, which makes for an entertaining sight.

Turducken: A gastric monstrosity 

Speaking of turkeys, this next practice is exclusively bird-themed. Some traditions are more of abominations than silly little quirks, and the turducken is no exception. Simply put, it is cooking a boneless chicken inside of a boneless duck and then shoving the cooked monstrosity into a final turkey. Oh the horror! Halloween is over, so the Frankenstein allusions should end as well. Three meats in one equals food coma for all. No matter how grotesque the process, it does look delicious, especially with added stuffing cooked alongside. Perhaps this recipe is best to be ogled and never attempted. This Thanksgiving, maybe stick to one roasted turkey — spare as many feathered creatures as possible. 

Turkey Trot

On average, Americans consume upwards of 3,000 to 4,500 calories of delicious coma-inducing cookery — all in one sitting. Green bean casseroles, cranberry sauce, gravy-soaked potatoes and more will be served on Thanksgiving, feeding the hearts and souls of America. I love pumpkin pie as much as the next guy, but the calorie intake wreaks havoc. Feasts and physical activity do not exactly pair well, except during the Turkey Trot. To help burn off  those calories, the people of Dallas-Fort Worth run a 5k trek around the city of Dallas before the big day even arrives. But the race is not exclusive to Texas — turkey trots can be found nationally in more than 200 cities. The turnout is enthusiastic and massive, as runners don eccentric turkey costumes and ugly thanksgiving sweaters. Nothing gets you in the holiday spirit like watching a life-size turkey leisurely jog down the street.

Frozen turkey bowling 

Nothing says “American” quite like knocking down makeshift soda bottles pins with frozen turkey bowling balls — tradition does not always mean classy! More popular in Northern universities, frozen turkey bowling has been an odd practice since 1988. It sounds simple enough, but the setting for playing is where it becomes a true spectacle. Next time you go to the grocery store, do not be surprised if you find an entire game of bowling taking place in the frozen foods aisle. It is best not to ask questions and to just keep walking. Hopefully they will run out of turkeys, or be kicked out (whichever comes first). Thankfully the practice is not as prevalent in the South. Texas may yet be spared. 

Thanksgiving’s spooky origins 

Before trick or treating and dressing up evolved into a Halloween practice, it was actually a Thanksgiving tradition. Dating back to the early 19th century, citizens celebrated our time of thanks by donning homemade masks and questionable costumes. Participants “trick or treated” by going door to door for treats and food. Some costumes mocked poverty and race, while others satirized political figures. Cross-dressing was common, but masks were especially popular and frequently scared neighbors. This tradition is now obsolete but vivaciously lives through the socially-accepted holiday of Halloween. The end of this practice is for the best, as the scariest thing about Thanksgiving should be the frightening food comas, not macabre masks and ghoulish costumes.

Featured Image: Courtesy TFU Language School Facebook

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Abby Sweatt

Abby Sweatt

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