What Is The Thanksgiving Wishbone Tradition?

Two people each grab a side of the wishbone which is situated inside the turkey’s carcass. Once the meal is completed, they break the bone apart while making a wish.

Whoever breaks off the larger part of the wishbone will have their wish granted, according to the tradition.

This tradition started thousands of years ago in the ancient Etruscan civilization. The Etruscans were a civilization in ancient Italy (around 800 BCE) that practiced bird divination. They used birds as oracles to predict the future.

During this time, Chickens were allowed to peck at Etruscan letters on the ground to divine the answers to queries about the future. When a bird was killed, they laid the wishbone in the sun for people to touch it and continue to use its power.

Those who touched the bone made wishes and that is how the name wishbone came into existence. Later, the Romans copied some of the Etruscans’ cultural traditions, including the wishbone wishing.

Over time, instead of wishing on bones on the ground, the Romans broke off the larger part of the bone for their wish. This tradition was carried with them to the British Isles, and the wishbone tradition eventually spread elsewhere.

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