Now that turkey hunting season is open, a lot of people may come to think that Thanksgiving is nearing our calendars yet again. But contrary to popular belief, the fact is that the turkey hunting season has absolutely nothing to do with Thanksgiving, save only in the association of the turkey meal. A large bird under the genus Meleagris, which was reportedly hunted and served as a dish during the now nearly mythical First Thanksgiving held at Plymouth in 1621.
Legend has it that the first pilgrims went fowling and turkey hunting during the season best for that activity, they got themselves some wonderful specimens of ducks, geese, and of course, turkey, which they then prepared and shared with the native population as it was documented in the now famous Bradford document, which describes the event. While it is unclear whether they actually served turkey during that long-ago event, it has now become a staple in the mythology of the Thanksgiving feast, that if forgone leaves the table somewhat incomplete.
Of all the icons associated with Thanksgiving, and really, any grand or extravagant meal for that matter, the turkey is the most poignant. Originally the festive fowl of England, as often depicted in literatures dating to the Victorian era and onwards (note A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens), the tradition of the turkey as a holiday meal has been so entrenched in the American consciousness that it has become the epitome of every festive holiday.
The domesticated turkey sells very well, especially during the holiday season, where nearly every household in America partakes of the recreation of the semi-mythological feast, and in between the seasons there are the scores of people who purchase the large festive fowl for the largesse and bounty that it exudes upon the dinner table. With the onset of the hunting season three weeks into springtime and two weeks into fall, it has become an equally profitable market alongside the use of turkey as food product.
Whether employed as a gustatory delight or as a rewarding and challenging sport, the wild turkey and the domesticated turkey has become entrenched in the American culture as a major staple of celebratory dishes. Such merriment with tradition and folklore stretches back to the time when the first pilgrims of the Mayflower set foot on American soil. While the folklore and mythology surrounding the fanfare associated with the hunting and consumption of turkey is somewhat vague, to the extent that the symbol it stands for remains, for all intents and purposes has become a very potent one to the American populace.
To this day, what began as a traditional declaration of unity and peace has been adopted by a myriad of different cultural minorities, which spans the gamut of all nationalities joined under the American flag. If anything, the turkey can be considered, the fowl of all nations, which many hunters are now happy to hear that turkey hunting season is in full swing!