Best of all-American Thanksgiving traditions

A time for family, feasts and giving thanks, Thanksgiving is one of America’s most celebrated holidays, and not without a few favorite – and bizarre – Thanksgiving traditions.


Presidential Turkey Pardon

Every Thanksgiving, our Commander in Chief puts his skills to use to perform a compassionate gesture on the behalf of all Americans – he grants a pardon to one special (live) turkey. This rather unusual tradition began in 1947, when the National Turkey Federation presented then president Harry Truman with three turkeys – two dressed and one alive. The ever-charming Truman sent back the alive bird, saying he’d ‘just let it grow’, and thus, a Thanksgiving tradition was born.

Take in these gorgeous blue mountainous views as you feast on Thanksgiving dinner in Shenandoah
Take in these gorgeous blue mountainous views as you feast on Thanksgiving dinner in Shenandoah

A buffet in the wilderness

Since Thanksgiving is synonymous with family dinner at home for most, most beloved food establishments throughout the country close their doors for the day. If you’re without close family nearby but you happen to live in Utah or Virginia,
all of nature can be your company as you celebrate your Thanksgiving at a national park. Eat your turkey at either Zion National Park in Utah or Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and take in some of the country’s most stunning landscapes as you’re surrounded by other adventurers who may turn out to be new best friends. Besides, after you enjoy a spectacular all day buffet, embark on a guided hike to help you walk off your feast.


Breaking the wishbone

A very well-known tradition, the ceremonious breaking a wishbone dates back for over 2,400 years. It was then the Etruscan people believed that fowl could predict the future, as each day the hen’s squawking announced the laying of an egg while the early morning crowing of the rooster marked the dawning of a new day. If a chicken was killed, the collarbone was thought to be sacred, so they carefully placed the collarbone alone to dry in the sun. Then, the people gathered around to hold the unbroken bone and made a wish in hopes of it bringing them good luck, a practice that ultimately led to the wishbone tradition. Part and parcel of almost every Thanksgiving meal in modern-day USA, the ritual of breaking the turkey’s wishbone is usually reserved for the youngest members of the family, with the lucky winner being the one who ends up with the bigger half, guaranteeing secret wishes granted and good luck all year.



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