50 States in 50 Days: Massachusetts — American Traditions

Boston Common
Boston Common

Posted by:  Janine Balekdjian, Consular Intern

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Massachusetts, one of the original thirteen colonies, has a special place in the nation’s history.  It can arguably be called the birthplace of the United States; in 1620 the Mayflower pilgrims landed in Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts.  Their successful establishment of a colony in Massachusetts (the second British in what is now the United States after Virginia) and feast of thanks a year later is the historical event behind the American holiday of Thanksgiving.  The Boston Tea Party, a protest of taxation without representation, took place in Massachusetts’ capital not long before the “shot heard round the world” that began the American Revolution at the Battles of Lexington and Concord near Boston.

The USS Constitution
The USS Constitution

Citizens of Massachusetts are proud of its history and celebrate its traditions.  In Boston, visitors can follow the Freedom Trail, which winds through the city to 16 of Boston’s historical sites.  The trail starts at Boston Common, the oldest park in the nation, and stops at the Massachusetts State House, Faneuil Hall, and Paul Revere’s house, ending at a monument to the Battle of Bunker Hill, the first major battle fought in the American Revolution.  The trail also features the USS Constitution, the world’s oldest warship still afloat, King’s Chapel and Burying Ground, where many of Massachusetts’ first colonists are buried, and the site of the Boston Massacre, another event which precipitated the Revolution.

Fenway Park
Fenway Park

New Englanders also embrace tradition in their sports.  The Boston Red Sox, founded in 1901 as one of the eight original American League teams, are one of the oldest baseball teams in the United States with one of the country’s most passionate fan bases.  People throughout the six New England states, and especially in Massachusetts, are avid Red Sox fans.  Enthusiastic Red Sox fans have kept Fenway Park, where the Sox play, sold out for nearly 9 straight years and counting, and often follow their team on the road to other teams’ stadiums.  Fenway Park, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, is the country’s oldest baseball stadium, and its motto, “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark,” rings true.  In addition to watching the Red Sox play, visitors can take tours of the historic ballpark on days when there is no game.  Both current and former Red Sox players are local heroes; Carl Yastrzemski, Ted Williams, and David Ortiz are names you can hear spoken with enthusiasm throughout Massachusetts.

A Cape Cod beach
A Cape Cod beach

Of course, Massachusetts is much bigger than Boston.  New England winters are quite cold and snowy, and skiing and winter sports enthusiasts can get their fill in the Berkshires.  On the other end of the temperature spectrum, Massachusetts’ shoreline is a relaxing summertime escape.  Cape Cod’s beautiful beaches offer swimming, sailing, and fresh local seafood.

Every part of Massachusetts is rich with U.S. history and traditions.  Come explore!


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