How to Explain the Turkey Pardon to an International Student


Photo by JamainOpenClipart-Vectors (edited) / CC BY-SA 1.0

Ah, American traditions. From Groundhog Day to President’s Day, it can be hard to keep track of the annual whims of the American people. Today, in preparation for Thanksgiving, one of the weirdest American traditions will occur - the turkey pardon.

To help you explain the turkey pardon to an international student, UTB has answered some frequently asked questions:

1. What is a turkey pardon?

Where and why the tradition started is contested, but basically the president pardons two turkeys, that will then be sent to "Gobbler's Rest", a farm on Virginia Tech’s campus.

2. Is that really the name of the farm?


3. I don’t get it. Were the turkey’s wrongfully sent to jail?

If by jail you mean Trump’s White House, then yes. But they haven’t been charged with any crimes.

4. Are the turkeys a metaphor?

Sure, if you want.

5. What are they a metaphor for?

I don’t know, you’re the one who wanted them to be a metaphor in the first place. They can be a metaphor for whatever you want.

5. I still don’t get it. Why do you pardon a turkey?

Because this is America, and in America you can do this kind of bullshit without getting questioned.

6. Why were there two question #5’s?

Shut up.

7. Donald Trump has had some trouble with birds in the past. Will he be able to pardon the turkey without things getting violent?

Unfortunately we are not qualified to answer that. All we know for sure is that the whole world will be watching this very important, very topical event with bated breath.