Saturday, March 31, 2018

April Fool's Day

Yes, it was practiced during the 19th century. Below you will find an excerpt from American Magazine of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge, Vol. 2 ©1836 from Google Books. There are other sources but in this one you get a feel for how it was looked upon by the author.

It is a curious fact, that the custom of making April Fools prevails in the most widely separated regions of the globe, and that, everywhere, its origin is hidden in remote antiquity. The Hindoos on the Ganges practise it; in all the European countries it exists, in one shape or another ; the French make what they call April Fish; and, in America, it is one of the few mirthful customs which our fathers brought from merry Old England. When once such a fashion was established, we should suppose that human nature might be pretty safely trusted to keep it up. It is desirable to have the privilege of saying, on one day in the year— what we perhaps think, every day—that our acquaintances are fools. But the false refinement of the present age has occasioned the rites of the holyday to fall somewhat into desuetude. It is not unreasonable to conjecture, that this child's play, as it has now become, was, when originally instituted, a vehicle of the strongest satire which mankind could wreak upon itself. The people of antiquity, we may imagine, used to watch each other's conduct throughout the year, and assemble on All Fools' Day, to pass judgment on what they had observed. Whoever, in any respect, had gone astray from reason and common sense, the community were licensed to point the finger, and laugh at him for an April Fool. How many, we wonder, whether smooth-chinned or gray-bearded, would be found so wise in great and little matters, as to escape the pointed finger and the laugh.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Easter & Easter Eggs

Finding accounts of Easter activities for this blog has taken a bit of time. However, I found a few excerpts from different sources about different aspects of Easter Celebrations. I hope you enjoy and that you and your family enjoy this year's Easter celebrations and the reason for the season.

We have an interesting account of the Easter celebration at the Old Ladies' Home in Roxbury, Mass. We cannot print it at length, but it gives so pleasant an expression of the good cheer in a home where the heart helps the hand that we should be sorry not to copy a few words from it.—" The household is up with the robins, who sing their carols around, and the old ladies appear at the breakfast table in best 'bib and tucker." Just as the morning exercises are concluded and the Easter eggs distributed, the city missionary and party arrived and met with a hearty welcome from the family gathered in the parlors. Quavering voices, supported by the full tones of cheery friends, joined heartily in 'Praising God from whom all blessings flow ;' then followed a short Easter service. Easter cards and hymns were distributed, and then goodbyes were said with the hearty response, 'God bless you in your good works and labor of love to-day.'" Source: Lend a Hand Vol. I June 1886

The Easter-egg is a painted or colored egg used for a present at Easter, a day which occurs on Sunday, the second day after Good-Friday.
The term "Easter" is said to be derived from a Saxon word meaning rising; and Easter is a festival of the Christian Church to commemorate the resurrection.
In the picture, the children are hunting for Easter-eggs, which the good mother has hidden in different parts of the room. The child who finds the most eggs will have the pleasure of making presents of them to whom he or she may choose.
Baby has set his eyes on the egg that lies on the floor. If he takes it up, I hope he will not let it fall, and break it. The other children will not be slow to find the painted eggs. There must be a dozen, or more, of them hidden away. Source: The Nursery Vol. 17-18 pg100 ©1875

And the Easter Parade down 5th Ave. New York City was not really a parade as such but it soon became a tradition. The earliest record I found was in 1865. If you have an additional source, please let us know.