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The Festivities in Colonial America

The Festivities in Colonial America

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The Festivities in Colonial America

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  1. The Festivities in Colonial America By: Lindsay Volpe 7C1- ID1

  2. Introduction During colonial times, holidays and celebrations were observed throughout the colonies. They were celebrated differently depending on where you lived. I have chosen many holidays and celebrations to discuss with you. I hope you find it as interesting as I did. J

  3. Celebrations

  4. Weddings • They took place at a church or at the persons’ home. • It was a tradition for the Dutch to give a “monkey spoon” to the newlyweds. The spoon symbolized festivity. A monkey drinking from a goblet and a heart appeared on the spoon. • The night before the wedding, a dance would take place at the house of the bride. • The wedding cake usually had a piece of nutmeg inside it because the people believed that the person who found it would be the next to get married. • The Sunday after the wedding was a day to honor the bride and groom with dancing, singing, and feasting.

  5. A wedding during colonial times. Nutmeg found inside the wedding cake. Monkey spoon

  6. Baptisms • When a baby was born family members would come together to welcome the new baby. • The people celebrated baptisms by having a party. • It was a tradition for the Dutch to give the baby an “apostle spoon” on the day he or she was christened. • On the end of the spoon was a saint or apostle, for who the child was named after.

  7. Apostle Spoon Baptism during colonial times

  8. Fairs • Fairs took place once or twice a year during the spring or fall. • These events usually lasted between three to ten days. • The purpose of fairs was for business and for pleasure. • Farmers would sell their crops and livestock at the fairs. • Entertainment consisted of puppets, tightrope walkers, jugglers, and fiddlers. • Activities consisted of bowling, boat races, riding the merry-go-round, playing games, and participating in contests. • Tug-o-war was a very popular game at fairs.

  9. Bowling played at the fairs The merry-go-round

  10. Holidays

  11. Candlemas Day • This event took place on February 2nd. • There are two different reasons the colonists celebrated this holiday: 1. It was a Christian feast day celebrated with candles blessed by the church. 2. It was an important holiday for the farmers. • If the day of Candlemas was sunny and nice, there would be 40 more days of winter and the farmers would not have much luck with their crops. • Medieval people thought that animals that were hibernating woke up on Candlemas Day to acknowledge the weather. • If a hedgehog saw its shadow on Candlemas Day, it would go back to hibernating and the people, especially farmers would have to deal with more cold weather. • Candlemas Day is now known as Groundhog Day and a groundhog is used instead of a hedgehog.

  12. Hedgehog Blessing of the candles by the church

  13. May Day • Symbolizes the return of flowers after the long days of Winter. • This holiday was celebrated in many cultures. • On May Day, the many colonists that did celebrate this holiday went “a-maying.” “A-maying” was when colonists woke up early in the morning to go out to collect flowers. • To help celebrate this special day, the colonists decorated a pole, the maypole, with flowers and ribbons. Later, they danced and sang around it.

  14. Children dancing around the Maypole A painting based on May Day

  15. Harvest Home • This holiday took place on the day of the autumnal equinox. • The autumnal equinox was a time to relax and take a break after gathering crops to get ready for the winter. • After all the work was done, a feast took place. • During the feast the people would pick a girl from the crowd and make her the Queen of the Harvest. They would then dress her in white and make her ride on the top of a loaded cart.

  16. A painting based on Harvest Home The Queen of Harvest sitting on a loaded cart.

  17. Christmas • Captain John Smith and his men celebrated the first Christmas in America in 1608, in the colony of Virginia. • The colonists celebrated Christmas as a day to praise the birth of the lord Jesus Christ. • People who lived in Virginia, decorated their houses for Christmas. They made wreaths with spruce, apples, pine cones and lemons. They also put holly behind paintings and mirrors as well as cotton balls to act as snow. • An important event celebrated in Virginia for Christmas was carrying out the Yule log and putting it in the fire place. • The other colonies celebrated Christmas as well. • In the New England colonies the colonists spent their day working on Christmas. They tried to fight for their freedom to celebrate Christmas but, they failed. • The middle American colonies also celebrated Christmas. • The Dutch in New Amsterdam started to celebrate Christmas on Sinterklaas Eve and they didn’t stop until after Christmas day. • A popular dessert that was made on Christmas was called speculaas cookies. This was a spicy cookie or biscuit. • On Sinterklaas Eve, children would fill their shoes with hay and carrots for Sinterklaas’ horse, just like today we leave cookies and milk for Santa Claus. • Pennsylvania also celebrated Christmas. This colony was divided into three groups: those who ignored Christmas, those who wanted to keep Christmas as a strict religious holiday and those who wanted to celebrate the holiday with joy.

  18. Colonists throwing the Yule log into the fire Speculaas cookies Sinterklaas

  19. Conclusion As you can see the holidays and celebrations that were observed during colonial times were very interesting. Some of them are still celebrated today however, some customs have changed.

  20. Speculaas INGREDIENTS: 3 cups all-purposefour 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp ground ginger 1/8 tsp baking power 1/8 tsp baking powder 1 cup butter, softened 1 ¼ cups packed brown sugar 1 egg ½ cup sliced almonds • DIRECTIONS: • In a medium sized bowl, mix the flour with spices, baking powder and salt. • In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. • Stir in the flour mixture, then add almonds. Mix and knead with hands. • Divide the dough into four parts, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours. • Preheat oven to 350 degrees • Flatten ¼ of the dough with hands. Cut out cookies with cookie mold. • Transfer cookies onto greased cookie sheets, spacing about 1 inch apart. • Bake cookies for 20 minutes or until light brown on edges. Enjoy the Cookies!! J