Questions arise frequently about Americans’ eagerness to celebrate eating turkey on this occasion, which dates back to the seventeenth century.
According to the Encyclopedia “Britannica”, three factors explain the adoption of turkey to celebrate Thanksgiving:
- The first factor: It is abundance, because this bird was widely available, as historical accounts indicate that America had nearly ten million turkeys, when Europeans arrived on the continent, and therefore, it was natural for people to use what was available.
- The second factor: It is that turkeys were present in the farms of farmers in abundance, and they preferred to slaughter and eat the bird, because other animals benefited them, such as cows that produce milk.
- The third factor: It is the weight of the turkey, because it is suitable enough to feed the family members, which does not happen, for example, in the case of chicken.
In 1620, a small ship named the May flower Plymouth left Great Britain for the New World.
The ship was carrying 102 passengers, some of whom were religious separatists looking for a new home where they could freely practice their faith, and others seduced by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World.
After a long and arduous journey that lasted 66 days, in which many of them died of fatigue, hunger and disease, the ship reached the eastern shore of Massachusetts in November.
However, their arrival coincided with the onset of the winter season, which is characterized by severe cold and heavy rains, in addition to the snow that decimated most of them due to their ignorance of fishing and farming methods.
Fortunately, they were rescued by two of the country’s indigenous Indians, Samoset and Squanto, who set out to teach the new immigrants how to hunt birds, animals, fish, and grow corn.
After a while, the immigrants who became American citizens after settling the New World decided to celebrate the blessing bestowed upon them by God in their new country. They invited the Indians and their tribes to celebrate what they called Thanksgiving in November of the year 1621, and they ate turkey at a solemn banquet.
During the American Civil War, Congress established one or more Thanksgiving days in the year.
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