Living History Sheds Light on the Holidays of the Past

Living History Sheds Light on the Holidays of the Past

Step back in time to a simpler day when holiday celebrations involved cooking over an open fire and illuminating homes with candlelight – the month of December offers opportunities to experience holidays celebrations of the past at three different historic villages! Families can explore, watch demonstrations, and engage in hands-on activities in order to learn about the ways in which the holiday season was honored in early New England.

Modern technology has certainly had an impact on the ways we decorate for and celebrate the winter holidays – early winter in New England now involves strings of lights and blow-up snowmen rather than windows lit by candles and evergreens adorned with cranberry strings. This holiday season, families can take a step back into the past, to a simpler time when holiday celebrations involved candles and open hearth cooking. By taking advantage of upcoming holiday-themed living history events, families can dive into the history and culture of western Massachusetts’ holidays past while adding a new tradition to their own celebrations!  Read the rest of this entry »

Discover & Celebrate Colonial History of Westfield

Westfield Colonial Harvest Day
Saturday, Sept 29th, 2012

Westfield Colonial Harvest Day is free to all, and takes place on Saturday, September 29th from 10am-6:30pm (rain date: Sept 30). The festival offers a wide variety of events, performances, activities, and sales, and takes place in the center of town near the green.

Take a step – a BIG one – back in time to 1669!  The city of Westfield is hosting the 8th annual Colonial Harvest Day this weekend – the event celebrates the history and culture of the city’s 17th century self.

Downtown Westfield will be alive with Revolutionary War reenactments, a Harvest Hoedown accompanied by a fiddle contest and other live music, colonial games and activities for kids of all ages, horse-drawn carriage and wagon rides, and tons of fun!  Artists and artisans of all types will show and sell their wares, the library will host a book sale, and local vendors will offer seasonal foods.

Perhaps the most entertaining element of the festival is the Celebrity Town Crier Contest, in which local celebrities will compete for the position of Town Crier for the next year.

Families can visit the festival to learn about Westfield’s 17th century history and culture, and to learn about the community’s role in the Revolutionary War.  The event can serve as an extension of studies of early New England – students will be able to experience 17th century culture hands-on and can see a live wartime re-enactment.

The 8th annual Westfield Colonial Harvest Day, sponsored by Westfield on Weekends and the Westfield Business Improvement District, celebrating the colonial history of Westfield and the autumn harvest will take place on Saturday, September 29th from 10am-6:30pm. The event will take place on the grounds of the Westfield Athenaeum at 6 Elm St. and on Goose Lane (known today as Court Street) up to the intersection with Washington St.

“This Day in History” Video Series

Discovering New England History with
The Freedom Trail Foundation Daily Video Series

Are your kids interested in Colonial History? Boston’s Freedom Trail Foundation offers a daily dose of history on their YouTube channel!  Every day, the group debuts a new clip (generally 30-40 seconds) offering information about an event that took place on that day in early American history!  Centered around the Revolutionary War, the clips feature historical re-enactors dressed in period costumes.  The information they offer covers a variety of topics- everything from the aftermath of the Boston Massacre to the settling of new areas surrounding Boston.

Of course the videos are presented in chronological order, but you don’t have to see every single one!  Watching a few a week can provide a way for families to learn about history together and extend their study of the American Revolution and Colonial Studies throughout the entire year.  Even watching the videos occasionally can be a fun learning activity- think together about all of the changes that have taken place in American society between the event discussed in the video and the events taking place today!

Here’s an example of what you can view:

The foundation’s YouTube channel can be found at

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