Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanksgiving and weird traditions

History of the Wishbone

With Thanksgiving just weeks away, I keep coming across dinnerware and accessories featuring a wishbone. This got me thinking about the tradition of breaking the turkey wishbone on Thanksgiving and where the superstition came from. Here's what I found:

"The wishbone custom began with the Etruscans. They believed both the hen and the cock to be "soothsayers". The hen because her squawk foretold the laying of an egg; the cock because his crow heralded the dawn of a new day. When a sacred fowl was killed, the bird's collarbone was laid in the sun to dry. An Etruscan wishing to benefit from the powers of the oracle would pick up the bone and stroke (not break) it while making a wish; hence the name "wishbone." It was the Romans who brought the wishbone superstition to England. Breaking the dried clavicle of a chicken was well established as a British tradition by the time the Pilgrims reached the New World. Observing that the wild turkeys which populated the wooded northeastern shores of America have clavicles similar to those of chickens, the Pilgrims adapted the wishbone custom to the turkey, making it part of Thanksgiving festivities. Thus, an ancient Etruscan superstition has became part of an American celebration (by way of Rome and England). Etymologists claim that the expression "get a lucky break" initially applied to the person winning the larger half in a wishbone tug-of-war."(Info copied from here). Interesting how these superstitions make their way through history, isn't it?! What will you wish for on Thanksgiving? (you don't have to answer, because that's considered bad luck, right? ;)