Every part of the country has its own set of traditions, and sometimes those traditions seem a bit strange to outsiders. From the colorful Mummer’s Day parade in Philadelphia to the over the top celebration that is Mardi Gras in New Orleans, these activities give their respective regions a special flair and make them like nowhere else on earth.

The same is true of the state of Michigan. If you are visiting Michigan for the first time, you may be mystified by some of the unique activities the natives engage in, but you will quickly learn to appreciate the warmth of the residents and the many great things to see and do here.

If you were born and raised in Michigan, these traditions will probably feel pretty familiar. If not, here are some traditions only Michigan natives truly understand.

The Hand Gesture

If you ask for directions to a Michigan destination, be prepared for a visual representation. The unique shape of the state makes it perfect for visual directions, and Michigan residents often spread out their hands and point to the spot you are trying to reach. It may take some getting used to, but once you have seen it a few times it will make perfect sense.

The Water Means Something Different Here

If you are from the east coast, getting out on the water means a trip to the ocean. With no ocean in sight, waterborne fun means something a bit different here. The state of Michigan is blessed with an abundance of lakes, and every resident has their own secret fishing and boating spot. If you are nice, they just may let you in on their secret.

Michigan Sauce Goes with Everything

Whether they are eating a hot dog or ordering pasta, Michigan residents love to incorporate their own special sauce into their recipes. Michigan sauce is comprised of meat, tomatoes, chopped onions and mustard, and it is absolutely delicious.

“Super” Ice Cream

Michigan residents know all about Superman ice cream, but this delectable summertime treat is a complete mystery to the rest of the country. As the name implies, Superman ice cream is comprised of red, blue and yellow flavors, and it is a staple of Michigan ice cream parlors.

The Fierce Rivalry with Ohio State

Michigan is not the place to wear your Ohio State gear. There is a fierce rivalry between Michigan State and Ohio State, and the fans on both sides get pretty riled up. For the most part the rivalry is a friendly one, but you might not want to taunt your new Michigan friends.

Michigan Residents Don’t Do Soda

If you want a carbonated beverage in the state of Michigan, don’t call it soda. Michigan residents call Coke, Pepsi and similar drinks pop, so place your order accordingly.

The state of Michigan is a special place to be, with its own unique traditions and ways to have fun. Whether you are coming to the state for the first time or returning home after a long time away, now is the time to learn about these great traditions.

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