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In relation to the occasion of thanksgiving, turkey holds a very important place in the history and the traditions that are followed till date all over the world on this day. As we go back the pages of history, we see that the turkey or Meleagris gallapavo is the wild bird which is native to the northern part of the Americas. There is also another species which is native to Mexico which is the Meleagris ocellata and it is found in the Yucatan Peninsula of the region. However it is the wild turkey which is said to have more importance when we talk about the occasion of thanksgiving. This turkey was a part of the earliest traditions that mark the present day celebrations of thanksgiving and are followed till the current thanksgiving celebrations.

 

It was only in the 16th century that turkey was imported into Europe and since this was done through the country Turkey, the bird was started to be called as the Turkey fowl (Turkey cock or Turkey hen). However, the name was shortened and just the first word i.e. Turkey stuck as the name of the bird. This bird holds importance on the thanksgiving since it was one of the first foods to be introduced to the pilgrims who came to Americas by the Wampanoag Indians. Since the seeds which were cultivated at that time did not give much yield except for barley, turkey was one of the native foods which were then used for survival.

 

In the first thanksgiving meal which was celebrated at Plymouth in 1621, turkey was one of the main ingredients of many dishes. Since there was more of meat than vegetables, turkey meat was a very important part of the meal which thereby stresses on the importance of turkey as a part of the thanksgiving meal. Various kinds of turkey dishes can be prepared and the recipes are available in plenty. It can be roasted, steamed or fried. Stuffing can be put inside the turkey and it is the best thing to have in the centre of the table in the thanksgiving meal.

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