Breaking the Turkey Wishbones | Thanksgiving Tradition

- - $20 or Less, Experiences


If I close my eyes, I can still remember Grandma’s house and the delicious aroma of Thanksgiving dinner filtering from her tiny kitchen. Like so many other families, every year there was discussion of who would be the lucky two people to break the turkey wishbone.


Queen Darlene & Jody making a wish!

It was a big event at the end of the meal to watch who would win the biggest part of the bone and declare a wish!

I had no idea of why we did this ritual of breaking the wishbone, so for this post I researched it. Did you know that the Thanksgiving tradition of breaking a wishbone dates back over 2,400 years?

The Etruscan people believed that fowl could predict the future and the chicken’s collarbone was thought to be sacred. Seriously?!?! Wishes were made by rubbing on the bones in hopes of bringing good luck. (Maybe I should try this on my next lotto ticket purchase). Thus, the “wishbone tradition” began.


Click to enlarge

The Roman’s embraced this custom and fought over the unbroken bones of chickens because they wanted good fortune. The phrases, “I need a lucky break,” or “I never get a break,” came from the loser in the collarbone tug contest. (So that’s where those quotes came from!)

This quickly spread throughout England, and the English people referred to the breaking of the bones as “merry-thoughts.” Oh… I like that idea!

When the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock, they brought the custom of breaking the wishbone with them. North America was abundant with turkeys and the custom was changed from the chicken to the turkey. Gobble! Gobble!thanksgiving-lucky-break-wishbones-thoughtful-gift-ida Now you know the history of the wishbone.

When I read about the Lucky Break® Wishbone, I was ecstatic and ordered enough to give everyone at my Thanksgiving table a wishbone to break. This fun gift instantly brought memories back for the older participants and a new tradition and memories for the kids.

It looks and feels like the real turkey wishbone. So give everyone an opportunity to make a wish and a chance at a lucky break!

Thanksgiving just gets me all warm and tingly and all kinds of wonderful inside.  – Willard Scott

I know this tradition is alive and well across America with families fulfilling the lucky break of a wishbone. We would love to hear about your Turkey Day traditions and experiences in the Comment section.

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