The following are a few articles of Christmas & New Year observances from the eighteen hundreds that appeared in newspapers of the time. If they generate enough interest, others along similar or the same vein will be added in future . If agreeable please send an E Mail and if sufficient responses are received more will be added , otherwise if only a small number of e- mail are received , the page will be removed as it has not generated enough interest .
Dunbeath January 1844
We are here on the eve of the Christmas and New Year old-style. All things here are old, with the exception of Free Churches. As I happened last week to take a stroll through this neighbourhood, my nostrils informed me that was something on the kilns preparing for the festive season. The way in which these days are now observed is a cold tale when contrasted with the enthusiasm of our ancestors. There are no large meeting to dispute the prize in a throwing the hammer - at putting the stone - at running the Shinty, or at going in any of the other exercises, in which our ancestors indulged. There are no veteran troops (of old men armed only with sticks) going on a black New Year Day to find a handful of snow on the neighbouring hills. If they failed their search, they considered it a sure omen that his majesty the king of terrers would summoned them to his court before the lapse of the year. With the progress of truce they are leaving their superstitions. On these days they conduct themselves rather better than formerly. We have now no more at New Year’s day fighting and disturbance - the god of wine is no longer in the fields, he has retired to the festive halls. I have been in this place only a year and on the morning of the last New Year’s day, I found my house assailed with a number of young men seek admittance at a very early and somewhat unreasonable hour. They were going the round of the place with the bottle, congratulating their neighbours on the New Year, and offering a glass to their health’s.
We had a severe gale lately - it unroofed several house is in the country, upset and scattered many stacks of corn, and tore up the roofs of no less than three Free Churches. Inverness Herald
Old New Year's Day 1851
With the strange tenacity of the adherence to old things, the country people still cling to the old style in their Christmas and New Year rejoicing. Whatever mystic influences these seasons possess, it surely should be the propriety of these days on Christmas and New Year New Year at actually fall –not upon those days which are further and further from the actual time as years and ages go by. But new ideas take long to root, especially when they are opposed to the traditions of the people, and so, while the townsfolk serve up their geese and turkeys on Christmas Day, or wished each “many happy returns” of New Year's Day, according to the new style, the country people reserve their demonstrations till the days arrive on which the fathers had been accustomed to exchange greetings. Monday last (old New Year's day) was observed all over the country with even greater mirth-making than usual. Balls and other parties were held in every glen, plain and hill - we may almost say on every farm. The night was highly favourable having being clear and mild ; and early traveller on the roads found the whole country apparently in a state of commotion lights gleaming from every house - pipes and fiddles sounding from every side and hundreds of pedestrians wending there way in the soft light to or from the dancing- rooms. Inverness Courier
The New Year in China 1868
The New Year is always an occasioned of unbounded' festivity and hilarity as if the whole population throw off the old year with a shout and clothes themselves in the new with the change of garments. Evidence of the approach of this chief festival appears some weeks previous. The principal streets are lined with tables upon which articles of dress, furniture and toys lie for sale. The expense incurred is considerable and often curious relics brought forth to turn into money. Superiors give presents to their servants and dependents and shop keepers send an acknowledgement of favours their customers. One most common gifts of the lower order are a pair of slippers. Among the stands for presents are tables at which persons are seated provided with pencils and gilt red paper of various sizes on which they write appropriate sentences for the season to be posted upon the doorstep and lintels or suspended from the halls. Small strips of red and gold paper some bearing the word fah, happiness: large and small red candles gaily painted and other things use in their worships are likewise sold in stalls and shops. As if to wash away the un-cleanliness of the past year, water is applied profusely to everything in the house. But a still more praiseworthy custom is that of settling accounts and paying debts. The shopkeepers wait upon their customers, creditors and debtors to settle matters. No debt is allowed to overpass the next New Year, without settlement or arrangement of some sort, if it can be avoided. As the old year departs all the account books in Chinese shops are burned. Devout person’s of who there are but few, also settle with their gods, and during a few days before the New Year the temples are usually thronged by devotees, both male and female, rich and poor. On New Year's Eve the streets are full of people all hurrying to and fro to conclude any business still left undone. Some are pasting the five papers upon their lintels, signifying their desire that the five great blessings which constitute human happiness may be theirs- mainly long life, riches, health, love of virtue and a natural death. Above these are pasted sentences like these: “May the five blessings descend upon this door,” Or, “May rich customers ever enter this door,” or “May heaven confer happiness. The doorposts of others are adorned with plain or gilt and red paper. Leisure Hour
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