When you think of Thanksgiving, dinner cooked on a spit is usually what springs to mind, and rightly so. But a little more south of the capital we find an introduction to all those other wonderful traditions of turkey-dom.
Thanksgiving: the oldest living cultural tradition
Turkey. Turkey. Turkey. When it comes to turkey, Canadians and Americans will immediately have their eyes on the large, red-feathered bird as a symbol of the North American continent.
But the origins of the turkey are all European, and often as surprising as one might think.
On 10 October 1863, Illinois Governor Leland Newman opened the northern border of the Spanish-American War at Santa Fe, which allowed a celebration of the loss of America’s early frontiersmen.
The scene on that day was Santa Fe’s plaza, and about 30,000 people gathered to watch as hundreds of turkeys were transported there by the Red Hawk Flock Transport Company and released.
The following year, Governor Newman sent around 100,000 turkeys to residents of the Philippines, and at least 29 Mexican leaders – all settlers, refugees or former US citizens – were so touched by the feast that they sent money to pay for the feathered delicacy’s distribution.
So from Mexico, was the turkey born. Some say it was hatched in the Canoas de Tacu Apayao (Latin for Tampico Island in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico), where it lived for about 30 million years.
However, it was not until 30,000 BC that it was domesticated.
READ MORE: Where in the world is the Thanksgiving turkey?
The discovery of a turkey preserved in amber
Do I sense a Canadian trap here? Only if you can remember that Canada was really Mexico, and Mexico only inhabited seven countries – not seven continents!
So if you read on, you might get there. As you may well know, Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia and Venezuela (with El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras separated by the US/Canada border) now form the Gringo Free Zone, a border zone of about 4.2 million square km, more than twice the size of Europe, and an area larger than North America itself.
The Gringo Free Zone allowed free passage for immigrants in the 1880s, 90s and 1990s, before being slashed in 2000 and 2200 sq km in 2006.
That is why we would love to bring you an illustration of some of the more unusual inhabitants that have walked through the gates of a United States (or Gringo) free zone.
Does this turkey raise any eyebrows? Any guesses?