Americans sometimes use the term ‘talk turkey’ to discuss something openly and practically. When someone ‘talks turkey” they get to the point and the term often refers to settling a business deal. Like our Thanksgiving tradition, it seems to have originated from colonial times. Historical accounts suggest the phrase came from the regular day-to-day bartering between colonists and Native Americans (Indians) over wild turkey.

Today’s American Thanksgiving feast has its origins in an English tradition carried on by the pilgrims who arrived at Plymouth in 1620. Many of these pilgrims were Christians who sought to simplify (reform) religion to more closely follow the Bible and Jesus’ teachings. They celebrated days of fasting (not eating) and feasting (eating a lot 🙂 … in particular, a day of feasting at the end of the Fall festival to thank God for His provision. The story goes that local Native Americans, the Wampanoag Indians, helped the new colonists to protect themselves against their rivals. It appears the leaders of both sides met and “talked turkey” about how to help one another. I imagine they also shared a dinner together at the end of a Fall harvest.

We need to “talk turkey” today and put aside our differences to help one another. In 1789, George Washington declared Thursday, Nov. 26, a Thanksgiving holiday, but only for that year, and it wasn’t connected to the Pilgrim feast but rather intended as a “public thanksgiving and prayer” devoted to “the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.” I believe Americans today love to share Thanksgiving with others because it’s a tradition with fond memories we desire to relive. ISC usually matches international students and scholars with American families for this holiday. We know this year was hard, but if we’re honest (turkey talk), we can still be thankful to the Author of all. Please contact us if you ever need to talk turkey.