Thanksgiving Wishbone

Main Text: 

Thanksgiving Wishbone 

Background on Informant: 

Currently a student, she grew up in an American household with heritage links to her Polish and Irish backgrounds. She has shared with me her many traditions and the folklore she has been exposed to through her experiences. 


She explains: 

“Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays we have here in the States, and with that my family and I have our own traditions that have developed throughout the years. 

Specifically we have this thing called the ‘Thanksgiving Wishbone,’ which  obviously comes from the typical wishbone custom but we’ve added a Thanksgiving twist to it. 

After someone finds the wishbone in the turkey, two people (usually my mom and me, or my dad and me) take one side each and then attempt to break it in half. 

The person who gets the bigger half is blessed with good luck for the year and sometimes we do a variation where we make a wish and whoever ‘wins’ has their wish come true. 

It’s very simplistic but it is a huge part of my Thanksgiving and it is something I look forward to every year.”


I knew before this interview about the wishbone tradition, but I loved how the person I interviewed had her own little family twist with it. I love how Thanksgiving has a standard set of ‘rules’ when celebrating but how everyone that I’ve ever talked to about Thanksgiving has developed their own little side traditions. 

I also find it fascinating how universal the wishbone custom is and how it is practiced so frequently and has remained an integral part of a lot of peoples’ cultural background no matter where they are from. Overall, I find it interesting to see how this tradition has continued overtime and how even if people don’t understand or know its’ origins, it is still something people value.