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The Tradition of

Eating Turkey for



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The Thanksgiving Turkey

The Thanksgiving Turkey is a traditional meal at
Thanksgiving. Although some people will serve pork, quail or
even rabbit as their main dish, most Americans and Canadians
choose the Turkey bird as the main dish to grace their
Thanksgiving feast. But turkey is not only celebrated as the
main dish at the dinner table during Thanksgiving, turkeys
are also celebrated in many forms of media during the autumn
season and Thanksgiving celebration. You can find them as
statuary, decorations, pictures, toys, books and movies.
Turkeys have saturated the Thanksgiving holiday in every
shape and form. There are many Thanksgiving traditions that
involve the turkey.

Some people have statuary of turkeys that are mainly used as
decorations during the fall season, whether they are just in
a natural state or overly exaggerated in a Pilgrim outfit
with big, shiny buckles and holding a sign saying "Eat
Beef!." Turkeys are used to decorate the house as well as
the lawns of many homes. You can find turkeys strutting on
t-shirts, sweat shirts, napkins, stickers, plates, window
decals, and more. You can purchase art prints of autumn
scenes with farm turkeys walking all puffed up in the
background. Stuffed toy turkeys sing jaunty tunes and often
decorate tables or couches while wearing pilgrim outfits or
sporting their colorful tails.

In just about every Thanksgiving tale there is a turkey,
whether it graces the table or is an actual walking, talking
character of the book. Some famous turkeys in novels are
"Turkey Lurkey" in the British fairy tale "Henny-Penny,"
also known as "Chicken Little," and Tom Turkey is usually
depicted wearing a Pilgrim's outfit. In just about every
Thanksgiving movie or show there is also a turkey walking
and gobbling or gracing the dinner table at Thanksgiving

Traditionally a turkey is pardoned on Thanksgiving by an
official of the government and will live to see another year
or even live out the rest of its life in style, depending on
the arm of government doing the pardoning. Even the United
States President participates in this tradition. The
tradition was begun in 1947 by the National Turkey
Federation (NTF) which now presents the President of the
United States with a live turkey and two dressed turkeys
every year in celebration of Thanksgiving. The annual
presentation of the National Thanksgiving Turkey to the
President has become a traditional holiday ritual in the
nation's Capitol, signaling the unofficial beginning of the
holiday season and providing the President an opportunity to
pontificate publicly on the meaning of the season. After the
ceremony, the live bird retires to Disneyland to live out
the rest of its years. Last year two turkeys named Flyer and
Fryer where given a last-minute reprieve and declared in
Disneyland television commercials: "We're going to

Another turkey tradition is that after the Thanksgiving
meal, two people take the turkey's wishbone between them,
one on each section of the "V", then make a wish and break
the wishbone. Tradition has it that the person who is left
with the larger part of the wishbone will have their "Wish

In history there really is no record of what the Pilgrims
ate at the first Thanksgiving. Even if it is suspected that
the turkey was one of the fowls brought back after hunting,
it was a wild turkey that would have been eaten, not the
common domesticated turkey that is known and eaten today. In
truth there are major differences between the turkey we buy
from the store and the wild Turkey that is hunted around the
same time as Thanksgiving. The domesticated turkey is the
"Broad Breasted White" hybrid variety (sometimes also
referred to as the "Large White"). This is the turkey that
graces the Thanksgiving table of today.

The wild turkey looks and tastes quite a bit different from
the domesticated, and is much harder to acquire. For one
thing, wild turkeys can fly well and fast, while the ones
that are raised on farms today are slow, stupid, and big and
definitely do not fly. The wild turkey is healthier to eat
than the common variety found in the supermarket, but good
luck in hunting one. They are quite a challenge to hunters
as they have amazingly good hearing and excellent
camouflage. Spotting a wild turkey in the woods where they
are native is a rare treat.

Many people raise their own turkeys to slaughter around the
holidays. Turkeys are very easy to care for, and often
people will raise a couple along with their chickens since
turkeys and chickens need relatively the same care. Turkeys
also lay eggs and you can eat them just like chicken eggs,
they are just bigger and freckled. Many people develop
attachments to the turkeys they raise and consider them
pets. Male turkeys are aggressive about their territories,
so watch out when entering their space or you may end up
with a pecking.

Turkeys are a symbol of Thanksgiving and are known not only
for their succulent meat but as an icon of the Thanksgiving
holiday itself. So when you think of Thanksgiving think of
the turkey and the traditions, people, places, and items
that the turkey graces for this season. You might be
surprised at how much Thanksgiving relies upon this bird.

Magnificent Stuffed Plush Turkeys

Delightful Turkey Calendars


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