Updated: Nov 29, 2021
By: Breanna Naysmith
On Thanksgiving, it is traditional in the United States for us to eat a tasty turkey. Have you ever wondered why? Well, at the first Thanksgiving, the Wampanoag brought deer and the Pilgrims provided wild “fowl.” That “fowl” could have been turkeys, which were native to the area, but historians think it was probably ducks, geese or even swans. Not a kind of fowl, but they might have even had lobster at the first Thanksgiving. Many of these early celebrations included turkey though. Alexander Hamilton once remarked, "No citizen of the U.S. shall refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day." By the 19th century, turkey had become a popular dish to serve on such occasions. The first reason they started eating turkey is because the bird was very filling and could serve everyone. Second, the turkeys on farms were almost always ready for cooking. Lastly, there were plenty of turkeys for everyone to eat on thanksgiving. One expert says that there were at least 10 million turkeys in America at the time of Thanksgiving. In fact, presidents would occasionally declare a Thanksgiving Day celebration, but the holiday hadn't completely caught on nationwide. Once the holiday finally caught on nationwide, the turkey idea tagged along with it. So, no one is really sure if turkey was actually eaten at the first Thanksgiving, but eventually in the 19th century the president and everyone started associating a turkey with the day and it stuck.