By Amanda Valentovic
While Thanksgiving is a day for being thankful for what we have, it is also a day full of tradition. From watching football and “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” to spending all day in the kitchen, every family is different. Seeing floats and balloons of favorite characters come to life in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and breaking the turkey’s wishbone are just a few of the typical traditions that happen on the fourth Thursday of every November.
In New York, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade spans over two and a half miles from Central Park to Herald Square. According to the website for Macy’s, the first parade was held in 1924 and featured animals from the Central Park Zoo. Then in 1927, the first character balloon appeared – it was Felix the Cat.
Freshman Elyssa Hirsch and her family are a few of the 3.5 million people who stand on the streets of Manhattan to watch the floats roll by.
“Every year, my cousins and I sleep over my grandparents’ house the night before Thanksgiving, and then on Thursday morning we go into the city really early and go to the Macy's parade,” Hirsch said. “Then we go back to our grandparents’ for lunch and dinner.”
Michael Riscica, a freshman accounting major, said that one of his family’s traditions began as a mistake.
“One year I ended up purchasing a mix for banana bread instead of pumpkin. So each Thanksgiving since then, we’ve served homemade banana bread,” Riscica said.
The family of freshman dance major Alex Dombroski also puts their own spin on their Thanksgiving dinner. “My family always has my grandma's pasta since we're Italian, along with typical thanksgiving food,” she said.
When it comes to the Thanksgiving day custom of breaking the turkey’s wishbone, many people might not know it, but this dates back thousands of years to the Etruscans’ tradition for chicken wishbones. According to the website mental_floss he Etruscans believed that chickens could predict the future, and when a chicken was killed and the bones were cleaned, they would make wishes on them. This is where the name “wishbone” came from. The Romans adopted this wishbone ritual and passed it on to the English, who then brought it to the New World with them and started using turkeys instead.
A universal favorite Thanksgiving tradition, however, is leftovers. Whether it is on a sandwich or made into soup, turkey is almost never eaten all in one day. Patrick Hopkins, a freshman film and TV production major, said he enjoys finishing those meals with his friends in the days after Thanksgiving.
“I always do a ‘Friendsgiving’ with my friends the day after,” Hopkins said. “We all just bring leftovers to one of our houses and eat together.”
Dombroski also extends Thanksgiving into two days. “The next day, we go back to my grandparents’ house for ‘Thanksgiving number two’ with all the leftovers,” she said.
Whether traditions are created because of a funny family occurrence or are so old that no one can remember where they came from, Thanksgiving remains a great way to keep the past alive, while creating new memories for the years to come.