Featured Offbeat — 26 November 2015

Why Do People Celebrate Thanksgiving by Eating Turkey

Thanksgiving day is celebrated all over America to give thanks to others and to celebrate the harvest. On this festival, people usually organize Thanksgiving feasts that have a wide menu with dishes ranging from sweet potato pies to pumpkin rice. However, you may have heard about people having one common dish on their tables, which is turkey. While there is some mystery around why people celebrate this festival with wild turkeys served to others, it has a historical perspective.

According to some old records, early colonists in America used to dine with others on this day and used to have fowl and meat on their menu. However, it is still unclear which kind of fowls used to be included in their menu. Still, the records mention about a hunting trip for turkey that used to be done before Thanksgiving. It is also assumed that wild turkey was preferred over bald eagle, as it was America’s native bird unlike eagle and was also more respectable. Thus, turkey was considered to be suitable for the Thanksgiving menu.

After this festival got recognized as a national festival, the historical-time menu also became a priority to be followed. Since then, people have been feasting on turkey on this special day. On the other hand, some people believe that turkey never used to be a tradition in those days and there were a few forces that later emphasized on making it a special menu item for Thanksgiving. Similarly, people have several other theories that have their own ways to describe why turkey became a common food on this festival.

Since the declaration of Thanksgiving as a national holiday in 1863 by Lincoln, turkey also got the reputation of a meal of choice for this festival. While this day is not all about eating turkey, people still feel that their celebration may not be complete without sharing turkey with each other on Thanksgiving.

Written by Ruchika Pahwa

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Ruchika Pahwa

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