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Gobbling Up Legal Trivia: Fun Facts About the Law and Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving tag on silverware

Thanksgiving is a time for feasting, gratitude, and, interestingly, some peculiar legalities! In the spirit of the holiday, let’s dive into some fun facts about the law as it intertwines with Thanksgiving.

1. The Presidential Turkey Pardon: A Legal Tradition?

Feathered Facts: Every year, the President of the United States "pardons" one or two Thanksgiving turkeys, sparing them from the dinner table. But did you know this tradition doesn’t have any official legal standing? It's more of a ceremonial gesture that's become a part of American Thanksgiving lore.

Historical Pecking Order: The tradition dates back to at least the 1940s, but it was President George H.W. Bush who formalized the turkey pardon in 1989.

2. Thanksgiving Laws: From the Bizarre to the Historical

Turkey Trots and Laws: In some places, local ordinances regulate Thanksgiving Day events, like turkey trots or parades. For instance, permits are often required for these events to ensure public safety.

The First Thanksgiving Law: The first Thanksgiving proclamation was made by the governor of the Plymouth colony in 1623. This proclamation is often cited as one of the earliest instances of Thanksgiving being officially recognized.

3. Food Safety Laws: Protecting Your Turkey Day Feast

Legal Seasoning: Federal and state laws regulate food safety, including the handling and preparation of your Thanksgiving turkey. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides guidelines to ensure your holiday meal is not only delicious but also safe from food-borne illnesses.

4. Thanksgiving Day Shopping: Legalities and Logistics

Black Friday Lawsuits: With the rush of Black Friday, there have been numerous lawsuits over the years related to shopping injuries or false advertising. Stores now have detailed legal plans to manage the crowds and sales promotions.

Employee Rights: Many states have laws protecting workers who choose not to work on holidays, including Thanksgiving. This legal protection is vital in the retail industry, especially as stores extend their hours for holiday shopping.

5. Football and Copyrights: A Thanksgiving Tradition

Broadcast Rights: The NFL Thanksgiving games are an American tradition. The broadcasting of these games is governed by strict copyright laws and multi-million dollar agreements between the NFL, teams, and television networks.

Conclusion: As you can see, Thanksgiving isn’t just about turkey and pumpkin pie; it’s also intertwined with some fascinating legal tidbits. From presidential turkey pardons without legal basis to the intricate laws governing Black Friday sales, these fun facts add an extra layer of intrigue to our Thanksgiving celebrations. So, as you pass the gravy this year, you can also pass along some of these quirky legal trivia bits to your dinner companions. Happy Thanksgiving!


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