Happy Thursday, or more accurately, Happy Thanksgiving!! A time when we gather with family and friends and celebrate all of the many blessings we have by generally over-indulging in calorie rich foods and watch the spectacle that is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or the traditional NFL game. This marks the start of the “holiday season” here in the USA and is often laden with all kinds of family and cultural traditions.
Part of what makes holidays so good, in my humble opinion, are the traditions that develop and can be shared from generation to generation. My family’s favorite way to welcome in Thanksgiving morning is to bundle up and head to a local event called the Drumstick Dash. A running event that boasts 20,000+ participants all raising money for a local homeless mission. It has become something that we can do as a family, and since we all love to run, it was perfect way for us to give back and provide for others that need a bit of extra help. As a bonus, it also means that we get a jump start on burning the calories that are coming our way later in the evening.
Turkey trots and Drumstick Dashes aside, there are some other odd traditions that can be found around the USA and the world. Here are just a few (how many do you participate in?):
- wish bone breaking- I recall waiting on that bone to dry so I could out-pull my younger cousin and hopefully get my wish to come true
- frozen turkey bowling- nothing like greasing up a frozen dead bird and slinging it down a path at some bowling pins
- a turkey toss- not to be outdone by bowling a bird, how about seeing just how far you can chuck your turkey. And if you live in Indianapolis, IN you may find a few folks that dress it up, light it on fire and then send it flying. Seems like a waste of good food to me, but hey, all in the name of tradition.
- in Ghana, at a festival called Homowo, yams take center stage and are dressed up, given a blessing and then serenaded by drums.
- pumpkin smashing- a potentially cute tradition at the Santa Barbara Zoo allows animals to partake in the holiday festivities by having fun with pumpkins.
The beauty of traditions lies in the sense of consistency that they provide. It is nice to know that every year on Thanksgiving morning, I can share in a healthy activity with my family that supports a worthy mission. Or that every year on Thanksgiving weekend, we can pull out the Christmas decorations and remember all the stories that they represent. The traditions, and more importantly the memories I have of them, nurture my spirit. Some traditions fade out as time marches on and new ones are always being started, but at the heart of a tradition is a sense of connection and belonging to those that are enjoying it with you and to those that have done it in the past.
So on this Thanksgiving Day, I wish you many blessings and many opportunities to make memories sharing in your own family traditions.