Thanksgiving Traditions


Alexis Binkley

Thanksgiving is the national holiday of giving thanks, coming together, and appreciating loved ones. Dating all the way back to 1621, the first Thanksgiving was a three-day gathering between 90 Wampanoag people and 53 Pilgrims. This day held significance for the Pilgrims because it was the celebration of their colony’s first successful harvest. To this day, people all around the country still celebrate Thanksgiving, participating in traditions that have been around for centuries. Listed below are the top five most popular Thanksgiving Traditions.


Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Macy’s Day Parade is watched by over 22 million people and has had a huge following for over nine decades. Being the second oldest Thanksgiving parade in the United States, The Macy’s Day Parade started in 1953 and has occupied many people’s Thanksgiving mornings as they watch floats pass through New York City streets. Beginning at 9 A.M., participants begin their walk in front of the flagship Macy’s store on Broadway and 34th Street. As they make their way through the parade, there are huge floats representing famous TV characters and amazing shows performed by dancers. The parade is three hours long, ending at 12 P.M. This is a popular tradition that millions of people enjoy watching. 


Break the wishbone for good luck

Breaking the wishbone on Thanksgiving is something families all around the world do. The wishbone is in the turkey’s clavicle.  When dried, two people choose a side to pull.  When when the wishbone snaps, the person with the bigger half is believed to be granted good luck or they may make a wish. This tradition started with the ancient Roman belief that chicken bones held the power of good fortune. This fun tradition has brought joy and laughter to many Thanksgiving gatherings! 


Share what you’re most thankful for

Sharing what you are thankful for on Thanksgiving is one of the most common traditions people partake in. It’s common that on Thanksgiving, families will take time to share what they are grateful for, whether that be friends or family or important life events. Taking time to remind the ones in your life how they are appreciated is what the day is all about. On this upcoming Thanksgiving, make sure to remind the loved ones in your life how grateful you are for them!


Watch an American football game

After the big meal, families tune in, along with 30 million people, to watch the big Thanksgiving Day football game. The NFL has been hosting games on Thanksgiving since 1920, and the Detroit Lions have played in every one.  The Dallas Cowboys joined the game-day roster back in 1966. This year, Detroit plays the Chicago Bears at 12:30 P.M. and the Cowboys take on the Los Angeles Raiders at 4:30 P.M. There is also the addition of an evening game — this year the Buffalo Bills against the  New Orleans Saints at 8:20 P.M. Will you be participating in this tradition? 


Taking a nap 

While some watch football, others love to squeeze in a nap. After an afternoon filled with delicious foods, many people will turn to the couch for a midday nap. Turkey is the main culprit for this sudden feeling of sleepiness in which it contains high levels of the amino acid, tryptophan. Tryptophan is known to release chemicals like melatonin (which makes you drowsy). Although it’s not entirely the turkey’s fault,  Thanksgiving also has foods with high levels of sugar, like pumpkin pie, that can make you want to nap. With the busyness of the holiday, everyone could use some rest!