Thanksgiving is here and that means fun, the chance to catch up with extended family, and a nice, hearty meal. But why do we eat turkey on Thanksgiving? Keep reading to find out.
Why Do We Eat Turkey on Thanksgiving?
First, let’s go back to the origins of Thanksgiving. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 by the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag as a way to commemorate the autumn harvest. That much is clear.
What we don’t know for sure is if turkey was actually served during that first Thanksgiving. Some accounts of the meal written by colonists mention “fowl,” but this could be anything from ducks to turkey.
It’s worth remembering that despite its long history, Thanksgiving was officially established as a holiday only in 1863. That year, Lincoln announced that the fourth Thursday of every November thereafter would be a national U.S. holiday.
Turkey Becomes a Thanksgiving Symbol
At this point, different types of meats were served during a Thanksgiving meal. However, by the early 19th century, turkey was already a favorite, probably because in addition to being delicious, it’s also easy to find (the U.S. is the world’s largest turkey producer).
The position of turkey as a Thanksgiving staple was cemented after World War II. Today, about 88% of Americans consume turkey during Thanksgiving.
So, in short, we eat turkey during Thanksgiving because it provides a historic connection to the first-ever Thanksgiving meal, but also because it’s easy to find in the United States, and has become a cherished —and delicious— symbol of the most American holiday.
More Interesting Food Facts
At Chef Gourmet, we know good food, and we love sharing that knowledge with you. If we have whetted your appetite for interesting food facts, here are some previous posts you may find interesting:
- Why is Dijon mustard so popular?
- Some interesting facts about mango
- 4 Reasons to love green beans
- 4 Spooky dishes to celebrate Halloween
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