The wishbone of a chicken or turkey is broken as a ritual for wish fulfillment. Breaking the wishbone is a traditional good-luck ritual often used after a family holiday dinner, usually Christmas or Thanksgiving.
To follow the full ritual the wishbone is set aside for 3 days, allowing it to dry and become brittle. The wishbone is named "merrythought" and is handed over to two individuals to pull apart. Each person wraps their little finger around one side of the wishbone and tugs at it when a signal is given. Prior to tugging a secret wish is formed in the mind. When the wishbone snaps the person holding the piece with the center section still attached will supposedly get his wish fulfilled.
As an amulet the wishbone represents wish fulfillment and is sometimes artistically represented in gold or silver pendants or brooches.
The term "getting a lucky break" originated from the wishbone ritual, referring to having received abundance or winning a prize.
The wishbone has also been used as a fertility charm. Maidens would hang wishbones over the doorway in their homes to attract a suitor to their hearth.
Reference: Body Guards: Protective Amulets and Charms, Desmond Morris
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