Everywhere in the country has their own local traditions and interesting facts that only those that hail from there know to be true. Michigan is no different. Here are just a few of the many things that you’ll only understand if you’re from Michigan.
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Your hand doubles as the state map.
Your Hand Makes the Best Map. Ask any Michigander where they’re from and they’re more likely than not going to raise one of their hands and point to an area of the palm, fingers or thumb. That’s right, the Mitten shape doubles as a hand-y map… See what I did there?
It’s not a U-Turn, it’s a Michigan Left.
Everywhere else, motorists have to sit in the left turn lane and hope to squeeze their way through the intersection at just the right moment between yellow and red. Here, we don’t worry about that, thanks to the Michigan left.
Your Change is Probably Mixed with Canadian Coins.
The proximity to our friends to the north (or south, depending on where in Michigan you live… More on that in a moment) makes it rather common for a Canadian coin to get tossed into the mix when handed change in the grocery store.
Fall Colors Are Not Part of a Fashion Trend.
An outsider city dweller who has never seen the splendor of Michigan’s fall colors just don’t understand. Don’t be insulted, just patiently show them a photo and point them to a road trip Up North and they’ll thank you forever.
Apple Cider and Donuts are a Winning Combination.
A trip to the cider mill every fall is never complete without dunking a freshly-made donut into a piping hot cup of just-pressed cider. Mmmm, the cinnamon! Pictured here, a cup of cider and a donut from Franklin Cider Mill.
You Have Four Seasons.
Yes, the snow and frigid cold is brutal and sends many a Michigander to Florida every winter, but without the cold, we wouldn't appreciate the summer as much.
Your Beer Is Better Than Everyone Else’s.
Across the great state of Michigan are more than 170 breweries, brew pubs and distilleries – from Bell’s to Founders, Shorts to Kuhnhenn. Launch dates for seasonal and limited release brews like Oberon (March 23 this year) and Hop Slam (that was the week of Jan. 12) are just about as sacred as Opening Day for beer lovers.
It’s Not Fat Tuesday, It’s Paczki Day.
While we’re on regional holidays, let’s talk about Paczki Day. The paczki, pronounced pooch-ki, is a Polish, jelly-filled pastry, often compared to a giant donut. On that Tuesday before Lent, Michiganders flock to the Polish community of Hamtramck by the thousands to gobble these gluttonous delicacies up. Many make a holiday of it, in fact, and take the day off to indulge.
Sweetest Day Is A Total Detroit Thing.
OK, so Sweetest Day is shared mostly with Cleveland and Buffalo, and technically 13 other states in the Midwest and Northeast. But this so-called “concocted promotion” in which celebrants give their sweetie, say, a box of Sanders candies, is definitely a Detroit-centric thing.
In Michigan, You Can Drive South to Canada.
Ever gaze across the Detroit River to Windsor? You’re actually facing south, and this is the only place in the United States where Canada is actually south of the border.
Vernor's. Better Made. Faygo.
Really, need we say more?
We Put The Cool In Boston Coolers.
You know the drill, take that can of Vernor's and pour it over a glass of vanilla ice cream (Stroh's, if you have it). Makes the perfect Michigan dessert.
You're Bound to Know Someone Who Works in the Automotive Industry
Ford, GM and Chrysler have left their imprint on just about every facet of Michigan life. And chances are you're related to or have friends who are related to someone who've worked for any one of the Big 3.
Fridays Are For Fish Fries.
Thanks to a strong Catholic presence in Michigan, there is never a shortage of the good ol' fashioned fish fry, usually prepared with a perch or other lake fish, in the basement of your favorite parish. Pictured here, a plate of fish, fries and slaw from St. Francis D'Assisi in Detroit.
The Lions Always Play on Thanksgiving.
You may not know why the Lions always play on this holiday, but what you do know is it's just one more thing to be thankful for. Here, a Lions vs. Titans game.
You Love The UP
There's something about the balance Michigan can maintain between busy city life in the Lower Peninsula and the tranquility of nature Up North. Maybe that's why so many Michiganders buy cottages in the UP.