(WTAJ) — You may have noticed when you sit down to enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner that a family member has harvested one of the turkey’s bones and set it aside to dry.
That bone is most often referred to as the wishbone. Your family may have a tradition of breaking the wishbone a few days after Thanksgiving. It’s said that the person who gets the bigger piece gets a chance to make a wish. But why do we do this?
How did the tradition start?
The tradition dates back 2,400 years to Etruria, Italy, according to Reader’s Digest. The Etruscans considered birds to be divine creatures and practiced alectryomancy or an “ancient form of divination using roosters.”
They would harvest the wishbone from chickens and leave it out to dry for several days. Etruscans would then stroke the bone and make wishes, hence the present-day term wishbone, according to Inside Hook. That tradition would then be absorbed by the Romans.
Romans played a vital role in current tradition as with a demand for bones and not enough to go around they would break the bones so that more people would be able to make wishes. The tradition was then taken to England and the pilgrims would then bring it with them to Plymouth Rock.
According to Modern Farmer, the abundance of wild turkeys led to the switch from chicken to turkey and that’s why we have the tradition we know today!
What actually is the wishbone?
According to Modern Farmer, the wishbone is actually called a furcula and it’s located in the neck and breast of the turkey. The bone is elastic and serves as a spring that holds and releases energy while the turkey flaps its wings in an attempt to fly.
How do you win the holiday competition of breaking the bone?
Whilst some say it’s all a game of luck and there is no definitive way to guarantee there are a couple of things you can do to swing the competition in your favor, according to Modern Farmer.
- Dry hand: You have to be able to get a good grip on the bone if you want a chance of winning. Make sure you’ve dried them off after your post-food coma!
- Proper hand placement: You’ll want to grasp the wishbone between your thumb and your forefinger, and as close to the center as you possibly can.\
- Leverage: Use your dominant hand! Use your non-dominant hand to press against a nearby surface.
- Endurance: It may not be a quick snap! Depending on how long you’ve let your wishbone dry out it may change the length of the fight.
- Be sneaky: There are no clear rules for the holiday battle, unless you’re family has put them in place. Get a good look at the bone and try and determine if there is a stronger side!
GOBBLE GOBBLE! Sprinkle some of this Thanksgiving knowledge at the dinner table this year and you’ll be sure to impress the family!