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Top 5 Family Thanksgiving Traditions

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Traditions are a big part of the Thanksgiving holiday, and every American family has their own way of celebrating. From stuffing the turkey to taking in a football game, here are the five most popular.

1. Turkey and Trimmings

From the first Thanksgiving to today's turkey burgers, turkeys are an American tradition dating back centuries. According to the National Turkey Federation, 95 percent of Americans eat turkey at Thanksgiving. Regional twists offer variations on the traditional roasted bird, including coffee rubbed turkey from Hawaii, salt encrusted turkey from New England, and deep fried turkey from the South.

2. Time Out for the Pigskin

Throughout the United States, football on Thanksgiving Day is as big a part of the celebration as turkey and pumpkin pie. Dating back to the first intercollegiate football championship held on Thanksgiving Day in 1876, traditional holiday football rivalries have become so popular that a reporter once called Thanksgiving "a holiday granted by the State and the Nation to see a game of football."

3. Parading Around

The first American Thanksgiving Day parade was held in 1920, organized by Gimbel's Department Store in Philadelphia, not Macy's as most people believe. The NYC Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade tradition actually began in 1924, and has grown into an annual event of balloons, bands, and floats, enjoyed by more than 46 million people each year in person and on TV.

4. Making a Wish

Does your family fight over the wishbone from the Thanksgiving turkey? Known as a "lucky break" the tradition of tugging on either end of a fowl's bone to win the larger piece and its accompanying "wish" dates back to the Etruscans of 322 B.C. The Romans brought the tradition with them when they conquered England and the English colonists carried the tradition on to America.

5. Giving Thanks

Last, but certainly not least, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for the people and blessings of the past year. From pre-meal prayers to providing holiday meals to the homeless, the holiday is truly a celebration of praise and thanksgiving.

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