In this week’s “Symbols Series,” we’ll be discussing the wishbone. Wait, “You mean the turkey bone used in Thanksgiving traditions?” Yes, that’s the one! Read on to learn about the history and the meaning of the wishbone.
The Thanksgiving wishbone tradition dates back to the ancient Romans, who believed it was good luck to pull apart chicken clavicles. In the 16th century, the English adopted these Roman beliefs under a new name, the “merrythought.” The word wishbone wasn’t actually included in dictionaries until the mid 1800s, around the time Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday.
The wishbone is a symbol of good luck. When participating in the wishbone tradition at Thanksgiving, two people tug on either ends of the bone (we know you’ve played this game!), and whoever ends up with the longer piece, is said to have their wish granted.
Don’t forget to check back for more explanations in our “Symbols Meanings” series!