Thanksgiving, Where Did Turkey Enter the Picture

The other day I began to get excited about Thanksgiving. About spending time with my family and enjoying all the wonderful things (non-tangible and tangible) we have been blessed with. While thinking about this I quickly got to imagining and dreaming about the food that would be present – and in the middle of the spread was the Turkey. But how did the Turkey become the centerpiece and a synonym for the Holiday, basically it is right up there in Thanksgiving importance with actual thanks.

Here is a brief history of the development of Thanksgiving and Turkey:

The year is 1671. The Pilgrims are in the New England area and William Bradford is in charge. It was a hard year, but there is hope in sight so William Bradford decrees a day to give thanks, or a day for Thanksgiving. And so it begins, food is brought forth for a feast and everyone is invited (even the native americans). Of course Turkey is present as well as various other fowls, seafood, vegetables, and more.

The year is 1676. William Bradford is still in charge and decides to proclaim another day of Thanksgiving after a hard drought was relieved. Once again, turkey, various fowls, seafood, veggies and more.

The year is 1789. America is independent and George Washington takes oath as the President of the United States. While President he proclaimed that November 26,1789  be a day of National Thanksgiving; many Americans, including Thomas Jefferson, thought this was silly.

The year is 1863. Lincoln makes a proclamation for a National Day of Thanksgiving, just like George Washington.

The decade is the 1860s. Turkey is becoming a popular, if not staple, part of Thanksgiving celebrations throughout the New England area.

Turkey Advertisement

It is after WWII. The poultry industry makes starts an aggressive marketing campaign on Turkey as the foodfor Thanksgiving. The result is that most homes in America server Turkey during Thanksgiving.

The year is 1941. FDR passes a law that makes Thanksgiving a holiday.

The history of the turkey is rather vague as it pertains to Thanksgiving, however it seems that the Turkey was made a staple for Thanksgiving through good old fashioned America advertising.

By the way, what ever happened to the seafood that was at those first Thanksgivings?

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