Holidays

Humorous and Cheeky New Year’s Resolutions from Punch in 1889

Punch; or, The London Charivari was a British weekly magazine of humor and satire established in 1841 that helped to coin the term “cartoon” in its modern sense. The magazine also offered its satirical viewpoint and because of its its sophisticated humor and absence of offensive material, other papers ran small pieces from the magazine…

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Thanksgiving, Thanks-living, and the Jacobite Rising

A sermon was preached on 9 October 1746 by Pastor William Wood to the congregation of Protestant-dissenters in Darlington after the Jacobite Rising. Wood stated that his sermon was to “cultivate Loyalty and Social Affection, on the large and solid Basis of Christian Catholicism, Universal Charity and Benevolence, to which the popish Practice of Persecution…

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Christmas Tree Folktales and Legends

Many countries have claimed that the Christmas tree originated in their country. Among those are France, the Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Norway and Sweden), and Germany. Accompanying these claims are many legends, and the first of these legends related to the Christmas tree has its roots in the thirteenth century. It comes from a romantic folktale…

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Halloween Superstitions of the 19th Century

There were many Halloween superstitions of the nineteenth century that were steeped in tradition. For instance, in Wales, bonfires were lit and white stones cast into the ashes to determine how long a person would live. If any stone was visible in the morning, it was claimed, the person who threw in the stones would…

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Christmas Cards and the Loss of Christmas

Christmas cards first appeared in 1843 when a civil servant named Sir Henry Cole decided he was too busy to send individual greetings to his business colleagues, family, and friends. Instead he decided to seek out his friend, a painter named John Callcott Horsley. Cole asked Horsley to create him a card with a brief…

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Christmas Game Snap-Dragon From the 18th and 19th Century

When eighteenth- and nineteenth-century families came together on Christmas Eve, there were several activities that people enjoyed indoors. Besides dancing, cards, or dice, there were sometimes parlor games. One favorite parlor game played in England was called “Snap-dragon” but also known as “Snapdragon,” “Flap-dragon,” or “flapdragon.” It was a popular game from the sixteenth century…

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Raising Turkeys for Market in the 1800s

In the 1800s, turkeys were raised with the idea of the ultimate end: killing them and eating them. Turkeys were not exactly domesticated either. Apparently, when they were chicks they were nomads and when they gained locomotion they scurried away at the slightest provocation. They also had a habit of making beelines for distant haunts,…

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