Hi everyone! As you may not know I am a big fan of the wishbone and wishbone style jewelry. Though for many of us, we may not be aware of the history and meaning behind this tiny little forked bone found in birds.
The wishbone, for those who don’t know, is found in the two clavicles of the bird, a small bone with alot of importance as it helps the bird to stay balance and withstand its position while flying.
The original superstition of wishbones is that they bring hope and of course grant your wish! As early as 322 B.C, wishbones were thought to have been collected and considered lucky. Not much is known about this early time period, except that the practices and beliefs had a strong lasting influence on Roman culture and then further on to early European cultures. Eventually, the wishbone tradition made its way to the United States by the early Pilgrim settlers. One of these practices, the “lucky break” wishbone, survived, and today it has become synonymous in many cultures with turkey and Thanksgiving dinners.
To divulge in the wishbone tradition a bit further, it was thought that in early B.C. times hens had oracle powers and they could be used to predict the future. Grains of corn would be scattered into sections with letters. A hen pecking at the corn would spell out answers to important questions, such as the first letter of a future husband’s name. Later, the hen would be killed and hung out to dry. An individual wishing to further capitalize on the lucky hen only had to pick up its wishbone, stroke it, and make a wish.
For more than two centuries, wishes were made on these unbroken hen clavicles. It was not until much later that the expression “lucky break” was given to the person winning the larger half in a wishbone “tug-of-war”. The person with the larger end of the bone would have his wish granted. In some places of the world, guinea fowl, geese, and turkey replaced the traditional hen.
In 15th Century Europe it was also thought that the wishbone could be used to predict the weather. Nowadays, once removed, the wishbone is dried and then held between the little fingers of two opposing “wishers”. Once the wish has been made the bone is pulled by each person. The wisher who breaks off a larger section of bone is thought to have their wish granted. Alternatively, the winner of this contest may choose to transfer the fragment of the wishbone, along with the wish, to a person of his or her choosing.
Many other different versions of the wishbone superstition have come into popular culture over the years. Some include hanging the wishbone over a doorway to find love ( it was thought that a marriage partner will come through your door if you do this!). The wishbone was also used extensively in many holiday greeting cards and postcards throughout the early 1900’s as seen in the one below. It even still is today!
I think overall the wishbone is a really nice tradition and everytime I make a whole chicken I am now looking for the wishbone to make my own wish!
The wishbone present in many pieces of my Talulah Lee jewelry symbolizes hope and good fortune to the wearer. Browse some of my new wishbone jewelry styles below including a selection of four new wishbone charm earrings. The wishbone is a simple classic piece that can be worn dressed up or down and for any occasion! If you’d like a custom piece made or would like some stones such as pearls, moonstone, quartz or perhaps your birthstone, I can add it to any piece you wish.
I hope you enjoy these beautiful wishbone necklaces, wishbone earrings, and wishbone bracelets…and of course reading a little history about the wishbone itself…..until next time!