Why We Have Turkey For Thanksgiving?

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Every dinner table on Thanksgiving has roast turkey as the centerpiece. This tradition has become so popular that we immediately associate turkeys with Thanksgiving. However, the story of the Thanksgiving holiday has nothing in particular to do with this bird. As the trend is with most rituals, the tradition of having turkey for Thanksgiving too is borrowed.

The Origin Of Thanksgiving:

Thanksgiving is basically a native American festival. It was a celebration of the harvest festival by the Red Indians. Turkey was not known to be popular among the natives of Americas. They feasted on cod, fish, wild boar because they were basically huntsmen by nature.

So, from where did the tradition of having roast turkey for a Thanksgiving dinner come? It appears that the tradition has its root in 16th century.


The Queen's Favourite Goose:

The Virgin Queen Elizabeth (Tudor) was feasting a juicy wild goose onE night when a very fortunate news reached her. The Spanish Armada that was on its way to attack the English isle had been sunk on its way. Thrilled by this news, the Queen ordered another wild goose to celebrate their good fortune. This was around the time of Thanksgiving in England and henceforth, geese have been considered lucky birds by the English.

When the English ex-patriots landed in American mainland, they could not find geese abundantly. Turkey seemed like the closest replacement for geese. So, the English carried their legends with them and thus having Turkey for Thanksgiving became a popular culture.

Why Turkey Makes A Good Thanksgiving Dinner?

The story of Thanksgiving clearly states that it is a family festival. One of the main rituals of this festival is that the whole family must sit together and enjoy dinner. During the time when the pilgrims actually moved to America, large joint families were the norm. Even today, we usually invite friends and have a large gathering for Thanksgiving.

  • Thus, turkey is the best bird to feed a lot of people. A chicken would not suffice, geese are no abundantly available and a lamb would be too large. So turkey's win the race.
  • Thanksgiving is basically an American festival and the turkey is an American bird. That is why it fits the situation if we have turkeys for Thanksgiving.
  • Turkey is the most economical option for a large dinner.
  • Turkeys are born in mid-spring and takes about 9 months to reach their adulthood. There is no doubt that turkey meat is at its juiciest in mid winter.

So, we have given you both historic and practicals reasons for eating turkey on Thanksgiving. Now its time to go ahead and feast on some. Pick from these turkey recipes to make your Thanksgiving delicious.

Read more about: bizarre, thanksgiving
Story first published: Thursday, November 22, 2012, 11:50 [IST]
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