Fun Fact: Which MD Counties Embrace Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Traditions?

Many people from around the country are getting ready to enjoy a classic American Thanksgiving meal of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberries, corn, and pumpkin pie. However, Thanksgiving in Maryland includes an array of traditions that set it apart from other states. 

Thanksgiving in Maryland was established back in 1842, 20 years before Abraham Lincoln made it a national holiday.  The state lobbied for years to get the governor to recognize it as a holiday. Early Thanksgiving celebrations were focused around religion and food traditions quickly formed after.

Governor Thomas proclaimed that a state-sanctioned day of “thanksgiving, praise, and prayer” would occur on December 14, 1842.

Many dishes offered are a fusion of the different cultures that made up early Maryland including the Native Americans, enslaved Africans and English settlers. More recently, as people have moved to Maryland from around the world, coming from southern and eastern Europe, Latin America, and Asia, they have added aspects of their culinary traditions to Thanksgiving.

One “non-traditional” Thanksgiving dish you can find in Maryland includes a type of ham or fresh pork dish, which can be found especially in St. Mary’s County with their St. Mary’s stuffed ham. Some other dishes throughout Maryland include, sauerkraut, Chesapeake Bay oysters, several sweet potato dishes including sweet potato pie, white potato pie, and wet cornbread to name a few.

Maryland’s rich cultural traditions add to the celebration of Thanksgiving. If you would like to incorporate some of the popular Maryland dishes into your Thanksgiving traditions this year please see Explore the Roots of Thanksgiving Foods in Maryland. 

If you would like your county featured in Fun Facts, please contact Amanda Grosskrueger at