Thanksgiving Traditions Across the U.S. 

In the U.S., Hexagon employees are finishing up projects and preparing for the Thanksgiving holiday. For most Americans, Thanksgiving signifies the start of the holiday season, which is recognizable by parades, sporting events, family gatherings and dinners, holiday parties, and a shopping craze known as Black Friday.

Although many aspects of these celebrations are nearly universal across the country, some traditions are more regional. Let’s take a look at what you can expect from some of these locations this Thanksgiving:

Northeast – Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 

Even though the parade takes place in New York City each year, watching the televised 2.5 mile (4 km) spectacle is part of many families’ Thanksgiving traditions across the U.S.  

The first parade was held in 1924, and although it occurred on Thanksgiving Day, Macy’s considered the event a Christmas parade; the purpose was to immerse patrons in the Christmas spirit while promoting their new 1 million square feet retail space. Initially, the parade included zoo animals, floats with character favorites such as Little Red Riding Hood, clowns, cowboys, knights, and the main event – Santa Claus in his sleigh.  

In subsequent years, Macy’s replaced the zoo animals with the iconic multi-story tall character balloons anyone familiar with the parade will recognize, and the event now includes marching bands, celebrity performers, and more. And although Santa’s appearance is still the culmination of the parade, the event is now known as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

South – Deep-Fried Turkey 

A trend that has become common in recent years in the U.S., deep-frying turkeys, has its origins in Louisiana Cajun cooking, according to USA TODAY. In an area where crawfish boils are particularly popular, people realized they could substitute oil for water in their butane cookers and fry their turkeys on Thanksgiving instead of more traditional roasting. This cooking method grew in popularity, first when it was covered by United Press International news, and later when it was televised on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).  

The trend has continued to spread with additional popularization by celebrity chefs, and you’re now likely to see fried turkey on the Thanksgiving menu in many places throughout the country. 

Midwest – Minnesota State Parks 

A major focus of Thanksgiving is spending time with loved ones. Each year, Minnesota uses their state parks to make that a little easier.  

Known as Free Park Friday, the state of Minnesota allows free admission into all 75 state parks on the day after Thanksgiving. The purpose is to “encourage families to extend their holiday by spending time together with a walk outdoors,” according to the state’s website. They also encourage attendees to share pictures of their adventures on social media with the hashtags #FreeParkFriday and #OnlyinMN. 

West – Turkey Trots 

The annual Mile High United Way Turkey Trot is a four-mile (about 6 km) run and walk that takes place on Thanksgiving Day in Denver, Colorado’s Washington Park. The event brings together more than 20,000 participants, and this is the 45th year that it will take place.  

The proceeds support Mile High United Way’s programs, which provide educational resources for children and various types of assistance that leads families toward self-sufficiency.  

Seattle, Washington, also has a Seattle Turkey Trot 5K (about 3.1 miles) on Thanksgiving. The event was started in 2007 to help local families offset the heavy dinners they planned to have later that day, and all proceeds for this race go to the Ballard Food Bank in Seattle. 

Treasure Your Traditions 

These are just a few Thanksgiving traditions in the U.S., and there are even more in the other nations and islands that celebrate the holiday. Whether you are celebrating Thanksgiving or looking forward to another upcoming holiday, be sure to spend time with family and friends, and make your own traditions to celebrate for years to come.  

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