Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. I really believe it is the only four consecutive days of 365 when work really stops for family. What began as an Autumn celebration and feast hundreds of years ago has its own modern meaning to all of us. The holiday gives us an opportunity to reunite with family, enjoy our traditional dishes, express our gratitude and, of course, watch parades and football and shop online for Black Friday Sales. It is the kick off to a hectic and joyous holiday season that we all look forward to all year. Have you ever wondered where the time honored tradition of Thanksgiving originated in our law or the legal history of the holiday? Probably not, but as a legal blogger it has crossed my mind. In researching the issue, I have discovered some interesting laws regarding Thanksgiving. The following are my top 10 favorite as the most interesting laws on the subject of Thanksgiving.
- There is No Shopping on Thanksgiving day in Some States
- Turkey Poo used for energy is required
- Thanksgiving not always the fourth Thursday in Nov.
- You can’t buy alcohol in some States on Thanksgiving
- You clean your house certain ways in New York City
- You can’t drink wine from a tea cup in Topeka
- One lucky Turkey is pardoned
- A lawyer invented canned cranberries
- Injuries Change the Law for Thanksgiving Parade
- It is illegal to use dogs to hunt Turkeys in some States
- No shopping on Thanksgiving
In Massachusetts, Maine and Rhode Island no shopping is allowed on Thanksgiving Day. In these states most retailers are prohibited from doing business on Thanksgiving day. Blue laws, as they were first referred to originate from the colonial era and encourage businesses to close to allow people to attend church on Sundays and holidays. They have remained in place in these states to urge people to spend time with their families on Thanksgiving Day. One notable exception is in Maine where any store over 5000 ft.² must remain closed with the exception of the L.L. Bean outlet. A loophole in the law allows sporting goods stores to stay open on Thanksgiving Day. I guess you never know when you are going to need a football although I don’t believe they sell those at L.L. Bean, maybe a jacket.
- Turkey Poo Must Be Used as an Alternative Energy Source
No that is not a typo. In the state of North Carolina and the state of Minnesota they have mandated that utility plants use a small amount of turkey waste to generate some of their power due to the large turkey farming industry in these states. I really can’t make these things up.
- Thanksgiving has not always been on the fourth Thursday in November.
Throughout most of our current lifetimes Thanksgiving Day has always been on the fourth Thursday of November. However, it was President James Madison who proclaimed that we would have two Thanksgivings in 1815. One in the Spring and one in the Fall. In 1940 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed Thanksgiving Day would be on the third Thursday in November in order to lengthen the shopping season for depression era retailers. Surprisingly, Roosevelt’s announcement proved to be controversial with some states continuing to celebrate on the fourth Thursday of the month. In 1941, Congress put an end to the “Franksgiving “ by passing a joint resolution that Thanksgiving Day would be established as the fourth Thursday in November.
- Plan ahead for all desired beverages
If you are planning on hosting Thanksgiving dinner or bringing an alcoholic gift to your party giver this Thanksgiving, it is important to know that many states have laws against selling liquor on Thanksgiving. Some states have more lenient liquor laws such as Alabama where you can purchase beer and wine but not spirits on Thanksgiving. However, in states such as Kansas and Oklahoma their laws are much stricter. In those states you cannot buy alcohol on Sundays or Holidays.
- Careful Cleaning your house in New York
If you plan on cleaning before your guests arrive and you live in New York City, bear in mind it is against the law to shake out a dust mop or a rug out of a window.
6) Be sure to use the right glass
Perhaps one of the most interesting and unusual laws I came across was in Topeka, Kansas. It is against the law to serve wine in tea cups in a restaurant. Not that I’ve ever seen wine served in a tea cup. However, in case this is your preferred method of drinking wine, bear in mind you cannot do so in Topeka Kansas
7) The Lucky Turkey
You’ve probably seen the White House tradition where the president is gifted a turkey and subsequently pardoned the turkey for everything, meaning it cannot be eaten as someone’s Thanksgiving dinner. Although I did find conflicting stories about the origins of the turkey pardon, it does have a basis in law. In 1865 President Abraham Lincoln spared a Christmas turkey that his son took a liking to. However, it wasn’t until 100 years later that President John F Kennedy spared the first Thanksgiving turkey. The first president to issue a formal pardon to the turkey was George HW Bush during a ceremony in the White House rose garden in 1989. The tradition has been upheld for the past 29 years. It will be interesting to see if the current administration follows this tradition
8) Canned cranberry sauce came from a lawyer
Americans consume over 5,000,000 gallons of jellied cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving every year. Attorney Marcus Lurran came up with the idea at the turn of the 20th century. He left his legal career to buy a cranberry bog. In an article published in the Spokane daily Chronicle in 1959, decades after his inspired career change, he said that his true motive was that he knew how to market cranberries and he wanted to extend the otherwise short selling season of the berries. Cranberries are picked during a six week season and before canning technology the product had to be consumed immediately. Sadly, the rest of the year there were no cranberry dishes.. Lurran’s canned cranberry sauce and juice were revolutionary with a shelf life of months instead of days. If it were not for Mr. Lurran, we would not be able to enjoy the random, impromptu to summer time Thanksgiving meal.
9) Injuries Change the Law for Thanksgiving Parades
In 1997, very high winds pushed the Cat in the Hat balloon into a lamppost. As a result, the falling pieces of the lamppost struck a parade-goer, which resulted in a tragic injury fracturing her skull and leaving her in a coma for a month. Following this injury, the balloon size regulations were enacted for the next year, which prohibited larger balloons such as the Cat in the Hat.
10 ) It is Illegal to use Dogs to Hunt Turkeys in Maine
In the state of Maine, no person may employ the use of a dog or dogs in any manner while hunting turkey except during the fall season;
From all of us at the TheOneLawyer.com, we wish you and your family a very happy holiday. We hope you enjoy all of your unique, special holiday traditions. When traveling during the holidays, take a look at some of my past blogs regarding injuries that can occur on vacation and issues arising with rental cars. We hope that you travel safely.
If you or a loved one is injured call our office immediately. If you have been in any type of accident and have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices today. At my office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to. Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities. They want to pay as little on every claim as possible. Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.
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