Thanksgiving Traditions And The History Behind Them
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday full of food and fun. Families gather around a big table and enjoy a plethora of dishes and fellowship. Thanksgiving traditions give people plenty to do on this wonderful holiday as well. Few holidays provide more interesting foods, entertainment and fun. Where did they all come from though?
The Turkey: The turkey in the middle of the table certainly is an iconic vision around Thanksgiving. The history of why we eat turkeys, however, is varied. There are several stories of where the turkey got started. The most common one is that turkeys were plentiful when the first Thanksgiving was celebrated. After that, the turkey stuck as a staple on that day. Abraham Lincoln spared a turkey named “Jack” it is said and that has led to the White House following suit since 1947. Turkeys are as much a part of Thanksgiving as anything.
Parades: Of course the Macy’s Day Parade on Thanksgiving is a huge staple for most families, but parades are huge on Thanksgiving everywhere in America. Most towns have one as well. This has it’s roots with the merging of Christmas shopping and Thanksgiving. Many saw turkey day as the start of that season, and the Macy’s Parade made sense. They sponsored the parade and it attracted tons of customers and attention to their store for Christmas.
Football: Thanksgiving and football go back quite a long time and some even think that it hearkens back to the earliest Thanksgivings. Certainly football was not the settlers chosen sport, but they surely enjoyed athletics and games. This was popular at the earliest Thanksgivings. As NFL football grew in popularity, the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers game became a staple of Thanksgiving television. The Dallas Cowboys joined suit and now teams of all cities get in on the fun on occasion. NFL football is a huge part of the current Thanksgiving Day celebration.
The Wishbone: Located in the breast of the turkey is a bone that has granted thousands of wishes over the years. This bone, which is really the clavicle of the turkey, is referred to as a wishbone. When the turkey is eaten, the wishbone is laid out to dry. Once it is dry, two people will make a wish and tug. The person that gets the bigger part will have his or her wish come true. This tradition is one that nobody truly knows where it comes from. The best answer I have found was that the ancient civilizations saw turkeys as oracles that could tell or see the future. They would keep this part of the turkey as a “pathway” once the turkey was dead… Strange tradition indeed.