Thanksgiving is a festivity spotted in the areas of Canada, United States, and Liberia. Currently, it is recognized a national holiday, which marks the day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest. On this thanking festival, a tradition of fracturing a wishbone came into existence.
The bone is procured from the skeleton of a bird’s breast. It is technically known as the furcula, which literally means “little fork” in Latin. The V-shaped structure is obtained by the juncture of two clavicles of the bird. The fused bone aids in strengthening the skeleton for an easy flight. Additionally, tendons are allowed to attach to the bone because of its elasticity.
HISTORY OF THE TRADITION
To begin with, the tradition of snapping bones is not a recent invention by the Western countries. Rather, people have been tearing apart poultry for thousands of years.
Ancient Romans initiated the tradition of pulling apart the bone in hopes of achieving good fortune. The bird from which the bone is derived was believed to be an oracle, predicting future. Eventually, it was modified into a tradition where two individuals would grab on each end of the bone, wish upon and snap it in into two pieces. The person with the longer half was reckoned to be the winner and hence granted a good luck. And if by any chance, it cracked evenly in half, wishes of both the individuals would be granted. However, before cracking it up, the bone was first laid out in the sun. Due to which, it dried up completely, and hence would stroke easily.
In the 16th century, as Romans traveled through Europe, the practice was adopted in England. Here, it was referred to as ‘merry-thought.’
Later in the 1850s, President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving as a national holiday. This was followed by coining the term ‘wishbone’ in the United States. Till date, on the day of Thanksgiving, people break Turkey’s wishbone.