Symbol for Thanksgiving

The turkey

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Why is the turkey the symbol of Thanksgiving? Most families have some kind of turkey entree to their Thanksgiving meals. Well the origins start start from England to British settlers coming from England. I’m not talking about the pilgrims and the natives, I’m referring to most settlers coming over. The east coast during the 16th and 17th hundreds was a settlers life. You had to build a home, acquire the resources to have a homestead. Take care of your resources, family, livestock and use only what you needed. That’s what the turkey was, livestock or a game bird for eating.

Turkeys are big birds, that’s given. Which in comparison to a chicken is a lot of meat to feed a family in general or special events. Turkeys were expendable compared to other livestock. Hens laid precious eggs, roosters impregnated hens, also rooster meat is tough. Cows were worth more alive than a roast. It wasn’t until the 19th century that commercial beef became more widely available. Deer for version required hunting and could have a gamey taste. Pork wasn’t seen as food fit for special holidays them.

Turkeys were just more ideal for more food. Turkeys are born in spring time and after 7 months of eating insects and worms. They gain about 10 pounds. This was great for stocking up on the oncoming winter. Besides, turkeys are cheaper than chickens per pound and cheaper then geese and could be pinned up. Of course Animal Husbandry was used, settlers would raise turkeys as well as hunt them. Though I suspect that elementary school warped our views of earlier settlers in North America.

Although, historical it’s strongly believed that Turkey was a course in the first every Thanksgiving between the Native American Indians and the puritans colonists. Documentation that a colonist, William Bradford went on turkey hunts with the colonists. Suggesting the idea that turkey was eaten that day.

Other historical events cementing the idea of the turkey being the symbol of Thanksgiving. Popular literature was believed to have a role in this idea of a perfect thanksgiving meal. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens added to the menu of a turkey filled with stuffing and gravy as well as a side of plum puddling. It’s also believed Scrooges gift of a Christmas turkey to the Cratchit family helped mold the turkey as the center of the holiday meal for both modest and affluent households. Then when President Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving as a national holiday, afterwards turkey was served during his thanksgiving meal. Though a century before this was proclaims families still celebrated Thanksgiving.

Though you have been given the possible conclusions of why the turkey was just a big impact of how we eat our holiday meals, family is what should be the center on Thanksgiving, but I guess you shouldn’t eat family. Eat more turkey.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email