Victorian History Comes Alive During the Holidays

Victorian Holiday Traditions & Events

According to the Wistariahurst Museum, "During the Victorian Era, a London newspaper published a drawing depicting the royal family of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert adorning a Christmas tree with lighted candles, tinsel, ribbon and paper chains. With this, Christmas bloomed into a season rife with tradition." Families can make orange pomanders during the museums Victorian Crafts for the Holidays Youth and Family Program this Saturday, Dec. 10th from 1-3pm in Holyoke. And Wednesday, Dec 7th from 4-5pm, families can make lemon pomanders at the Pine Point Branch Library in Springfield. - Want to make pomanders at home with your kids? Click on the image above for a DIY pictorial

Did you know that many of our holiday customs have origins from the Victorian era?  From Christmas trees decorated with candies and fruits and presents placed under the tree, to plum pudding and Wassail, many of our modern day traditions can be traced back to the Victorian age.

Christmas in the 1800’s was authentic, and celebrations weren’t distracted by commercialization as our modern day Christmas observances can be.  The holiday focused on celebrating with friends and family.

According to the BBC, “The Victorians transformed the idea of Christmas so that it became centred around the family. The preparation and eating of the feast, decorations and gift giving, entertainments and parlour games – all were essential to the celebration of the festival and were to be shared by the whole family.”

During the holiday season families can take a step back into history with Victorian influence singing, crafts and productions that happen throughout Western MA. Tomorrow afternoon, families can meet at the Pine Point Branch Library in Springfield and make lemon pomanders to give as gifts while learning about the history of this Victorian craft.  And this coming Saturday, Dec. 10th, the  Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke hosts Victorian Crafts for the Holidays where families can make orange pomanders, Christmas crackers and other Victorian crafts.

Christmas by Candlelight at Old Stubridge Village happens for three weekends in December where families can enjoy  horse-drawn sleigh rides, hands-on art activities, visits from Father Christmas, readings and listening to Victorian carolers.

Families can further enjoy Victorian caroling all weekend long this coming Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 10th-11th, in the Berkshires at the Lenox Caroling Festival, and in the evening on Saturday, Dec. 10th the Victorian Singers will be singing holiday carols in period-costume at St. James Place in Great Barrington at 6pm.

Starting December 17th at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, families can journey back to Victorian England and experience the classic story, A Christmas Carol, performed by the Berkshire Theatre Group for eleven shows scheduled through December 30th.

Check the Hilltown Families list of Weekly Suggested Events every Thursday afternoon for more non-commercial events for the holidays.  And be sure to sign up for or weekly eNewsletter to have an updated mailed right to your inbox once a week.

Have a Victorian tradition your family enjoys?  Share in our comment box below.

[Photo credit (ccl) Aprile Clark]

2 Comments

  1. December 8, 2011 at 10:31 am

    On Saturday, Dec. 10th at 6pm – VICTORIAN CAROLING: Enjoy singing traditional holiday carols with the period-costumer Victorian Singers of Saint James Place! There will be carols sung by all, and some sung by just the choir. Dress for the weather- it takes place outside, and is part of Great Barrington’s Holiday Stroll event. Main and Taconic Streets. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

  2. December 8, 2011 at 10:30 am

    On Saturday, Dec. 10th at 2pm – VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS – The Rowe Historical Society will host a Victorian Christmas Gala with Victorian toys, tree, caroling, and holiday treats. 413-339-4238. 282 Zoar Road. Rowe, MA (>$) http://www.rowehistoricalsociety.org


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