Utah December 06, 2015
by Catherine Armstrong 13 Crazy Traditions You’ll Only Get if You’re From Utah
Every state has its own unique traditions, and Utah is no different. Some are made possible by our topography, while others are thanks to our religious diversity. Here are a few that you are likely familiar with.
1. We leave love notes in the West Desert.
Some Utahns have a tradition of placing notes on the sand alongside I-80. You’ll find the notes scratched into the sand, or formed with small rocks.
2. Utahns round up bison every November.
The bison roundup on Antelope Island is a great Utah tradition. Utahns get to see bison up close, and the animals get their annual vaccinations.
3. The $5 gift exchange.
This Utah Christmas tradition probably occurs in other states, too, but Utah’s large families typically make it impossible to buy a present for every aunt, uncle and cousin. Bring on the $5 gift...and a long, drawn-out unwrapping game.
4. Our towns host huge parades on July 24th.
Most of the nation celebrates on July 4th, but Utah’s biggest parade is actually held on Pioneer Day.
5. Our schools put their letters on the mountains.
Many Utah schools have a tradition of painting a large letter on the side of the mountain nearby. Most repaint the letter annually. You won’t find these in most other states (probably because they don’t have cool mountains right above their schools!).
6. Some Utahns flock to Temple Square the first weekends in April and October; others avoid that part of town for a few days.
LDS General Conference is held every year in downtown Salt Lake City. If you’re Mormon, you might attend in person. If you’re not, you probably avoid trying to drive on any road within 6 blocks of the temple.
7. We welcome some world travelers home with banners and signs.
When Mormon missionaries finish serving afar and return to Utah, it’s a big deal. Tradition dictates that most families gather en masse at the Salt Lake International Airport, toting balloons, "welcome home" signs and banners.
8. We have funeral potatoes for Easter dinner.
"Funeral potatoes" are a casserole made from shredded potatoes. You’ll be hard-pressed to find an Easter table in Utah that doesn’t include them - for most Utah families, they’re a tradition.
9. Utah high school students have a tradition of asking each other to prom with elaborate methods.
Instead of just a phone call, Utah students find clever, often elaborate, ways to ask each other to prom (and to answer).
10. Every January, we check out celebrities and the latest in independent film.
The Sundance Film Festival is a pretty big deal here. Some Utahns buy tickets to see the unveiling of the latest films. Others just like to hang out and spot the celebrities.
11. We drink a raspberry shake at Bear Lake in August.
If you're a Utahn, you have to visit Bear Lake for Raspberry Days. The shakes are the best!
12. We head to downtown Salt Lake City every March to people watch.
When ComicCon comes to town, it’s the best people-watching all year (and it’s also a blast to dress up like our favorite super hero or villain!).
13. Many Utahns wear red or blue on game day.
Football-loving Utahns follow many college and pro teams, but almost all of them choose an alliance between the University of Utah and BYU -- at least for the Holy War. On game day, we traditionally wear our blue or red hoodies to let the world know which is "our" team.
What are some of your favorite Utah traditions?
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