Over the years mouth-watering turkeys have graced tables every Thanksgiving. Turkey has remained the most popular and most celebrated symbol in honor of the bountiful harvest of the Pilgrims back in 1621. So, why do we eat turkey on Thanksgiving? Three major folk tales provide possible answers.
The First Thanksgiving Feast
It is believed that beef and fowl were served during a feast celebrated by Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians. This was known as the "First Thanksgiving Feast." It is assumed that turkey was present in the banquet, as a letter by Edward Winslow mentions a trip hunting wild turkey before the meal. This theory was further strengthened by William Bradford, who wrote the "History of Plymouth Plantation."
Ben Franklin's Favorite Bird
Founding father Benjamin Franklin strongly believed that the turkey is a much better representation of the United States than the bald eagle. According to Franklin, "The turkey is a much more respectable Bird and withal a true original Native of North America." Obviously, not everyone agreed with him. But turkeys were plentiful in North America, and they took their spots in the limelight every Thanksgiving celebration.
Queen Elizabeth Sets the Standard
Another legend says that back in the 16th century in England, Queen Elizabeth received news that the Spanish Armada, planning an attack to her country, sunk on its way to England. Because of her joy for this unexpected turn of events, she ordered another goose to be served. Inspired by Queen Elizabeth's action, the Pilgrims used roasted turkey instead of roasted goose when they returned to America. However, this is probably the most unlikely reason of the three Thanksgiving turkey origin stories.
Even if you can't pin down exactly why we eat turkeys during the Thanksgiving holidays, you can share some fun facts. For example, they can gobble and feed all morning, see a 270-degree field vision, hear incredibly well and fly up to 55 miles per hour. Turkeys are not just delicious centerpieces but they are stars in their own right, with or without these links to history.
Thanksgiving brings us thoughts of the comforts of home, but the holiday exists today thanks to the arrival of the Pilgrims on these shores, and their trip here was a long way from comfortable.
You can create cool turkey crafts that are sure to look fine long after your turkey dinner is done. This 3-D turkey is fun and will make a beautiful centerpiece or a great wall hanging at your Thanksgiving family gathering.