Life Here

November 25, 2021 By Julie Turner

Origins of 10 Thanksgiving Traditions

Some Thanksgiving customs are as ingrained as pumpkin pie and canned cranberry sauce. But where did they get their start?

Mental Floss explored the origin stories of some of the nation’s top holiday traditions and a few that you might not have heard of — Franksgiving, anyone?

The oldest known Turkey Trot foot race began in 1896 in Buffalo, New York. Not to be outdone, folks in Cuero, Texas, host the Great Gobbler Gallop, a turkey race that started in 1809.

From 1939 to 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving up by a week to help pull the nation out of the Great Depression. “Franksgiving” was not a huge success — with some states following the change, others sticking with the traditional date and some states even honoring both dates.

Black Friday wasn’t originally about retail sales and profits but rather a likelihood for heavy traffic and accidents that kept police busy on one of the nation’s top shopping days. And — spoiler alert — the busiest shopping day of the year isn’t Black Friday; it’s usually the Saturday before Christmas.

Check out the story behind other Thanksgiving traditions and customs.


Want to receive a monthly round-up of our most popular posts?