Why Do We Have Turkey on Christmas?

Posted on Dec 3, 2021

When you celebrate a holiday for years and years, some things become so normal that you don’t blink an eye. Traditions become second nature. The way you and your family do things becomes the most enjoyable way. But have you ever wondered where some things originated from?

Let’s look at turkey as an example. Why exactly do we have turkey on Christmas? How has it become so “normal” for families?

Well, there’s a long history explaining how turkey and all the trimmings became a constant on our Christmas dinner menus and a yummy way to make sandwiches with leftovers the next day. It dates to 16th century England, where many people accredit Henry VIII with being the first to publicly determine the bird would make a perfect festive staple.

Slowly, turkey become an increasingly popular Christmas meal in wealthy British households because it was more expensive at the time, so much so that the royal family replaced its usual swan with this new luxury. It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that it became more widespread, and people began replacing goose and chicken.

When British colonists discovered the “New World,” now known as the Americas, the tradition eventually spread across the world. Queen Victoria reopened trade with the United States, the turkey become an even bigger hit. Of course, many cultures celebrate in different ways, choosing pork, for instance, over turkey, but it continues to be a quintessentially British meal.

After you carve into your turkey and sit down for that delicious holiday meal, you can now share some fun facts about its interesting past with your loved ones. Who doesn’t love a festive history lesson?

Popular in Food & Drink

Other things you might like in this category