Turkey Tug-of-War

NOVEMBER 14, 2016 By Rebecca Katzman


The upside-down V-shaped bone is actually called the furcula. It is an elastic bone located between a turkey’s neck and its breast. Furcula means “little fork” in Latin. All birds have a wishbone. It helps support a bird as it flies.


For humans, though, the wishbone serves a more lighthearted purpose. At Thanksgiving, the tradition is for two people to hold one end of the bone, make a wish, and then tug. The winner is the person who ends up with the bigger piece. If you believe the legend, the winner’s wish will come true.


All birds, including turkeys, have a wishbone. The bone supports a bird in flight.

How did this bone-ripping tradition get started? The practice of making a wish on a bird’s furcula dates back to the ancient Etruscans, a people who lived in what is today northern Italy. They believed birds were powerful and divine creatures. After killing a chicken, an Etruscan would leave the wishbone in the sun to dry. Passersby would pick it up, stroke it for good luck, and make a wish. That is how the furcula got the name “wishbone.”


The Etruscans passed the ritual along to the Romans. Soon, the practice of making a wish on a chicken’s furcula became popular in ancient Rome. According to legend, it was so widespread that there weren’t enough chickens or wishbones to go around. So the Romans began breaking the wishbone in two. Now, twice as many people could make wishes.


Then the English picked up the tradition. In the 16th century, English settlers brought the practice to the New World. There, they found an abundance of wild turkeys. So they starting using a turkey furcula for their wishes. Today a wishbone tug-of-war is as much a part of Thanksgiving as is gobbling down turkey smothered in gravy.


When it comes time to pull apart the wishbone, different people have different tactics for ending up with the biggest piece. But there are a few tips that may help you get the upper hand. First, make sure your hands are dry. Next, make sure you hold the wishbone the right way. Take it between your thumb and index finger and place your thumb as close to the center of the bone as possible. Finally, get some leverage. The more pressure you can apply to your side of the wishbone, the better chance you have of winning the battle.


Will your wish come true on Thanksgiving? Whether you end up with the larger or the smaller piece of the furcula is ultimately a matter of luck. But a tight grip probably could hurt.



elastic 有彈性的 serves為……服務 purpose目的 breast胸部 tug用力拉(或拖)

legend傳奇故事 flight飛翔 ripping撕的 Etruscans伊特魯里亞人(的)

divine神授的 Passersby行人;過路客 stroke打,擊,敲 ritual儀式,典禮[C][U

widespread分布(或散布)廣的 go around滿足需求 abundance豐富;充足

settlers移居者;殖民者;開拓者 gobble down 狼吞虎嚥,大口大口地吃

smothered使窒息 gravy肉汁 tactics戰術 tip祕密消息 upper hand上風;優勢

thumb拇指 index finger食指 leverage槓桿作用 pressure壓力

apply to 把……用(於)battle戰役 ultimately最後;終極地 tight grip緊握

probably大概,或許,很可能 include包括 ancient古代的

1.What is the shape of the furcula?

(A) Ʌ (B)Ƴ (C)Ʋ (D)V


2. Which is true about the article?

(A) If you get the short piece, you wiil win the game.

(B) Every bird has wishbone except turkeys.

(C) Wishbone tug-of-war is a part of Thanksgiving day’s activity.

(D)If you want to win the game, your hand must be wet.


3.How did ancient Etruscans make wishbone ?

(A)Put the furcula from the chicken inot a bottle to dry it..

(B) Put the furcula from the chicken under the sun to dry it.

(C) Break the furcula from the turkey into two pieces and dry it in the house.

(D) Pull apart the furcula from the turkey and put it under the sun.


4. what is the correct order that the wishbone was used to make a wish?

(A) the Etruscans→the English →the Romans

(B) the English→the Etruscans→the Romans

(C) the Etruscans→the Romans →the English

(D) the Romans→the English →the Etruscans


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