Detroit March 09, 2018
9 Bizarre Detroit Traditions That Make Our City The Absolute Best
We Detroiters tend to think relatively highly of ourselves, but we’ve never claimed to be normal. Life in the Motor City comes with its fair share of undeniably odd traits and behaviors, some of which are more bizarre than others. Here are nine unique Detroit traditions that set us apart in the best way possible.
1. The whole "octopus on the ice" thing.
What? You mean your team doesn’t toss a live octopus onto the ice just prior to every professional hockey game? Here in Detroit, the "octopus toss" is an inevitable event at each and every Red Wings game. After all, we simply can’t win without this strange (but effective) good luck charm!
2. Drinking Vernors for illness.
We’ve been downing Vernors in place of Pepto Bismol for so long that it’s started to seem completely normal. Venture outside Detroit (or Michigan as a whole), and you certainly won’t find many parents tending to their kiddos’ stomach ailments with ginger ale. Don’t knock it until you try it!
3. Enjoying Vernors floats instead of root beer.
Speaking of Vernors, we Detroiters have a taste for ice cream floats that might not sit well with the rest of the world. While most people prefer to sip on foamy root beer floats, we choose to mix vanilla ice cream with Vernors. There’s just something deeply satisfying about a ginger ale float on a hot Detroit day.
4. Driving south to Canada.
For most Americans, Canada is thought of as the land up north. Here in Detroit, though, Ontario can be accessed by driving due south! This might sound odd to those who aren’t familiar with our city, but it’s been this way for as long as we can remember - and we’re proud of its disorienting truth.
5. Playing euchre anytime, anywhere.
When we say anywhere, we mean anywhere. In a moving car? Time for a euchre tournament. After a funeral? Time for a euchre tournament. On the banks of the Detroit River? Time for a euchre tournament. Detroiters might love playing euchre a bit more than we should, but we certainly aren’t ashamed.
6. Pointing to our hands instead of using maps.
This tradition applies to all of Michigan, but Detroiters are no exception. When we’re asked to point out our hometowns (or adopted hometowns) to new friends, we almost immediately point to our open palms. After all, Michigan is conveniently shaped like a mitten. Who needs paper maps, anyway?
7. Shaming people who put ketchup on their coney dogs.
If there’s one thing that irks Detroiters, it’s watching our beloved coney dogs be completely destroyed by the addition of ketchup. We might not call you out publicly for covering your dog in bright red tomato-y sauce, but we’re silently judging you for it behind your back.
8. Watching our team lose on Thanksgiving day.
Ah, nothing says "Thanksgiving in Detroit" quite like watching our home team humiliate us on national television. Here in Detroit, our tradition of remaining loyal to the Lions might be the most bizarre of all, but that doesn’t mean we’ll stop rooting for the boys in blue. While the rest of the country is drowning in turkey and gravy, we’re drowning in shame.
9. Gorging ourselves on Paczki Day.
Detroiters take Paczki Day seriously. When Fat Tuesday rolls around, you’ll find us lined up in bakeries throughout Metro Detroit just waiting to get our hands on a dozen delicious paczki - or more. You’d be hard-pressed to find a Detroiter who doesn’t think work should be canceled on Paczki Day.
Alright, Detroiters – we’ve listed a few of the strangest and most unique traditions practiced here in the Motor City. Are there any others that should have been included? Share your thoughts in the comments!