Thanksgiving

17 Of The Strangest Thanksgiving Traditions Ever 

Jacob Shelton
Updated November 27, 2019 2.2k votes 373 voters 18.5k views 17 items

If you live in America, your family probably has some sort of Thanksgiving tradition. Maybe you and your mom watch the big game while your dad obsesses over the turkey, or maybe you and your siblings pitch in to make an epic dessert. But not all Thanksgiving traditions happen in the USA. In America, most people make a turkey with stuffing and the works, but in some countries Thanksgiving is celebrated in a cemetery, or by playing drums to a yam. Weird Thanksgiving traditions can take a lot of forms; from dressing up like homeless people and asking for candy, to eating crab instead of turkey. After all it’s not how you celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s who you celebrate it with that counts. We've put together a list of the weirdest Thanksgiving traditions that are bizarre, strange, or downright unheard of. 

One of the most obvious things about old Thanksgiving traditions is that they’re all really weird. Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday that’s usually connected to strange celebrations, but after reading this list you’ll see that America’s turkey day really is the epicenter of a lot of unusual rituals.

Vote up the strangest Thanksgiving traditions below, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section. 

1
The Turkey Toss
The Turkey Toss is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 17 Of The Strangest Thanksgiving Traditions Ever
Photo: flickr/CC0

In Indianapolis, IN, people have started an annual tradition of dressing their turkey in a baby onesie, dousing it in lighter fluid, attaching it to a long chain, lighting it on fire, and throwing it across the length of a football field. This tradition was basically started by a bunch of dudes who wanted to see a flaming turkey streak through the night sky, and now, it's an annual thing.

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2
Frozen Turkey Bowling
Frozen Turkey Bowling is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 17 Of The Strangest Thanksgiving Traditions Ever
Photo: Metaweb/CC-BY

At the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, the most popular Thanksgiving tradition is an event called Frozen Turkey Bowling, where people hurl frozen, oiled-up turkeys down a grocery store aisle at a set of bowling pins. The event raises money to combat smoking, which is an awesome reason to throw a dead, frozen bird at a bunch of bowling pins.
 

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3
Thanksgiving Masking
Thanksgiving Masking is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 17 Of The Strangest Thanksgiving Traditions Ever
Photo: Metaweb/CC-BY
In the 19th century, "masking" was a Halloween-like tradition where adults and kids alike would dress up on Thanksgiving. Most people would wear masks, but others got a little more creative; many young boys would cross-dress as their sisters, and some even went as far as dressing up like prominent political figures. These handmade costumes were a little scary to behold, and the tradition eventually devolved down to Ragamuffin Day. 
 
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4
Black Friday
Black Friday is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 17 Of The Strangest Thanksgiving Traditions Ever
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY

Can we all admit that Black Friday is the worst holiday ever? It's basically just an excuse for middle-aged women to stomp one another to death in a Macy's parking lot over a discounted Keurig. Like Mother's Day and Valentines Day, Black Friday wasn't even a thing until we decided it was, and started camping out in front of Target to buy TVs at a slight discount.

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