Here in the south, there are so many things to be thankful for. That’s why we’re always ready to celebrate when Thanksgiving rolls around. Family, food, and football all signify the beginning of the holiday season, and there’s nothing quite like a traditional southern Thanksgiving. Although the food (and the leftovers) are some of our favorite parts of the holiday, we know that Thanksgiving is celebrated in many different ways. Try out these five most popular southern Thanksgiving traditions this holiday season and celebrate with your family southern-style!
1.) Watch Some Football: Is it really Thanksgiving if someone’s uncle isn’t yelling at the television? Down south, we love to kick back and watch the all-American sport. In-state college rivalries and NFL matchups provide plenty of talk for the family. The tradition dates back to 1876, shortly after American football was invented when Yale and Princeton played a football game on Thanksgiving. Some families split and form teams to burn calories and play their own game, while others watch their favorite teams on TV. We typically hunker down for a big game after the Thanksgiving feast while the non-sports fans congregate in the kitchen to wrap the leftovers in foil and sneak one last taste of their favorite dishes. One tip for a harmonious household if you plan to practice this tradition is to make sure you offer a helping hand in the kitchen before relaxing in front of the TV. Once you sit down on the comfy sofa, it’s going to be hard to get back up!
2.) Say A Blessing Before The Meal: A favorite tradition in many southern households is the blessing before the meal. On this holiday of reflection on our many blessings, we take this time to say grace, asking God to “bless this food and the hands that prepared it.” Often, this blessing is recited by an elder in the family, and that same family member says grace every year. This southern tradition exemplifies the value we place in our faith, family, and acknowledgment of our many blessings. Many southerners say grace before every supper, and Thanksgiving provides an excellent opportunity to give thanks in the presence of loved ones.
3.) Eat A Traditional Meal: While there are many variations on Turkey Day feasts, a true southern Thanksgiving includes a table with turkey, dressing, cornbread, and plenty of casseroles. In the south, we’re known for good home cooking, so Thanksgiving is our time to shine. Dressing is essential to any southern Thanksgiving meal; whether you use memaw’s famous recipe or buy it from the store, it completes the entire meal. No matter how much traditional food sits atop your table, there is sure to be a debate about homemade or canned cranberry sauce!
4.) Casseroles: If there’s one thing we know how to do down south, it’s casseroles. Whether a baby is born, someone passes away, or there’s a celebration, southerners will pour out their love and deliver it in a big glass dish. Break out the pyrex because a southern Thanksgiving feast is not complete without family favorite casseroles. From green bean to sweet potato or macaroni casserole, their versatility and easy preparation make them impossible to pass up on such a hectic holiday! A beloved tradition for many families in the south, you’re sure to find an annual favorite casserole on the table.
5.) Share What You’re Thankful For: Gratitude is abundant in the south all year long, but Thanksgiving is a day to recognize your blessings and share them with loved ones. As you sit around the table with family, it’s a southern tradition to go around and share what you’re thankful for. Family, friends, church, sweet tea, porch sittin’, and college football are some things that make life worth living. As everyone tells what they’re thankful for, you’re sure to share a few laughs and tears with those you love most. This cherished southern Thanksgiving tradition is one that will never go out of style.