10 Ways The History Of Thanksgiving Is Nothing Like You Imagined

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6. The Thanksgiving Tradition Of Burning Small Children


Ragamuffin Day, in New York, was even crueler. It evolved into its own unique festival in the Big Apple, with its own distinct traditions. The oddest one has to be the “red pennies”—the unique New York tradition of spending Thanksgiving Day hurting children.

A “red penny” was a penny that had been heated up in the stove until it was too hot to touch. When the kids in the neighborhood hit the streets in their costumes and started going door-to-door, some New Yorkers would go to their windows and throw these scalding hot coins out onto the streets. Then they’d howl in laughter as they watched small children burn themselves.

“I remember the fun we had,” one New Yorker told a reporter after the fad of Ragamuffin Day had died out. “When we kids picked ‘em up we got our fingers burned. I remember how my fingers got blistered.” Then, nostalgic for the lost days of being tricked into injuring himself, he sighed and said, “They don’t have any real fun like that anymore.”[5]

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