8 Things Many Utahans Do That May Seem Strange To Others

Estimated reading time: 6-7 minutes

Many states claim they are unique but cannot prove it. Utah can.

A big reason for this is, of course, its outrageous natural diversity. How many states can claim Zion, Arches, Bryce Canyon and host the Winter Games? (That’s a rhetorical question.)

But Utah is also unique in its demographic makeup. Pioneers seeking freedom from religious persecution first set foot in the Salt Lake Valley via Emigration Canyon in 1847, and the state became the physical and spiritual home of The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints – with the highest concentration of members anywhere in the world living here.

This continued presence of the Church has had a major influence in Beehive State, and although Utah is more diverse than ever today, it has created a culture that is truly unique to nowhere else in the world.

From religious basketball (the brawl that starts with prayer) to fried sauce, here are some of the weird things Utahans do.

Go to church – a lot

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ attend church every Sunday. In itself, this is not so unusual – many followers of other religions attend services every week.

What is unusual, however, is the length of Latter-day Saint services. From 1980 to 2018, Sunday services, which consist of sacrament meeting followed by classes, were held for a consecutive three-hour block. In 2018, service time was reduced to two hours, still longer than a football match.

President Russell M. Nelson, the current leader of the Church, explained this change by saying that it was “time for a home-centered church, supported by what is happening inside our buildings of branch, ward, and stake.”

Wear t-shirts under sleeveless dresses

Looking at the way many Utahns dress will remind you of a summer calculus class: there’s a lot covered. In the name of modesty, many locals will conceal more than a foreigner might be used to.

For example, some women wear T-shirts under sleeveless dresses and wear knee-length shorts. There’s nothing wrong with that, just like there’s nothing wrong with wearing tank tops or short shorts. You do you.

Marry young

Walk around Provo enough and you’ll see wedding bands on many young adults who are still covered by their parents’ health insurance. But it’s not just a stereotype that Utahns marry young; it is a fact. Exact numbers vary by source, but Utah is universally recognized as the state with the youngest average marriage age – for both men and women. Marriage.com reports that the age is 23.5 for females and 25.6 for males.

Oh, and families in Utah are also bigger than in any other state. Statista reports that the average household size in Utah is 3.08, the only state with an average greater than three people per household.

Think basketball is life

Utah loves basketball more than Rudy Gobert loves smashing shots and yelling “not today, sir!”. Ever since the Jazz moved to Salt Lake City from New Orleans in 1979 (but oddly kept the name), the city and state have fallen in love with the local top flight team. Jazz fans have a reputation for being some of the loudest in the NBA, and the arena is packed virtually every game.

But Utah’s love of the game goes deeper than that. The church ball is a true local phenomenon that can be seen in any Latter-day Saint meetinghouse that contains a basketball court (and almost all have one). What is the church ball? It’s like regular basketball, except the players are kind of the nicest, most aggressive players you’ve ever met.

There was even a comedy film poking fun at church basketball with appearances from former jazz center Mark Eaton and Hot Rod announcer Huntley.

False oath

Attend one of these church ball games and you’ll witness another very typical Utah occurrence: fake swearing. “What is it, ref?” He fucked me up! »

The reason is simple. Utahns are more averse to swearing than most, but just as prone to getting angry. The result is usually a flurry of half-swear words (gosh! damn! darn!) meant to vent all the anger out. It’s funny and endearing at the same time.

Pro tip: Check out this mashup of “The Good Place” to see an accurate representation of what fake Utah swear words sound like.

Defy time

Rain or sun? In Utah, it’s more “rain, hail, snow, wind or shine”. The Utahns’ psyche is as weatherproof as the Cotopaxi down jackets worn in Park City, and people here will go to school or work in all weather conditions.

For example, Utah State students in Logan often have to brave snow conditions and temperatures in the teens or below to attend classes in the winter. Their grandchildren will never know what it is.

Or this viral example of BYU students slipping into class, literally. The Deseret News in 2015 reported on this viral video of students having less than ideal weather trying to get to class after a particularly severe storm.

If you’re one of the many Utahans undeterred by less than ideal weather, exercise caution and control your speed during your rides. Black ice and standing water are just a few of the things that can ruin your day – or your life – pretty quickly.

Love the fried sauce

Now let’s move on to some of the culinary quirks of the hive state – because who doesn’t care about food?

Utah’s most popular native food is fry sauce, a condiment made in its most basic form by mixing mayonnaise and ketchup. (Of course, many variations exist with different ratios and added ingredients.) Eater.com explains that the author of the recipe, Don Carlos Edwards, was also the founder of the beloved local chain Arctic Circle – which still proudly serves its delicious concoction today.

Fry sauce lovers were outraged in 2018 when Heinz introduced Mayochup, partly because of its ridiculous name (it’s barely better than “ketchonnaise”), and partly because it’s just sauce. to fries. Never mind, Heinz. You know who did it first.

8 Things Many Utahans Do That May Seem Strange To Others
Photo: Alhim/Shutterstock.com

store food

Utah remains ready. Storing food is rooted in local (read: Latter Day Saint) culture, and many Utahns (read: Latter Day Saint members) store at least three months worth of shelf-stable foods like flour, wheat, and beans. dehydrated fruits and vegetables. LDS Canneries make the process easy by providing pre-packaged bulk foods for long-term storage – there’s even an online store.

The reasoning behind this food storage practice is simply a desire to be on the safe side in the event of a disaster (like, you know, a pandemic or something). It’s a very good reason. Perhaps the only downside to food storage is that at the time of this writing, French fry sauce does not yet exist in a stable form.

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