COLONIAL CHRISTMAS:A CELEBRATION BY: Katie Principato 7A3-ID3
Introduction The first American Christmas celebration occurred in the Virginia colony, 1608. The colonists celebrated Christmas with special foods, lively decoration, and specific traditions and customs. I hope you find this as interesting as I did.
Food that was eaten during the Christmas celebration • Doors were always opened, and tables were always filled. • The food that was eaten on Christmas day was not the usual food that was eaten every other day of the week. • They ate oysters, fish, flesh, wild-foule, and good bread. • The also had wine and beverages flowing freely throughout the night.
Holiday Food (Continued) • Baking played an important role in the Sinterklaas celebration. • Women baked a two-foot-high cookie that had a resemblance to Sinterklaas and topped it off with frosting. • On Twelfth Night, a special bread was baked. This bread was called “three kings”, and was normally baked with a bean inside, but if you were wealthy, then you put a ring inside. Whoever got the piece with the bean or ring was king for the night.
Sinterklaas • Some colonists called Christmas “Sinterklaas”, as well as today’s modern “Santa”. • They began celebrating on Sinterklaas Eve. • The wives of these families started preparing on Sinterklaas Eve (Christmas Eve), and they would prepare a spicy biscuit or cookie, called Speculaas. Today we would refer to Speculaas as gingerbread cookies.
Three Kings bread Sinterklaas Speculaas
Christmas Decorations • Colonists decorated their home for Christmas. • They made wreaths of spruce, apples,pinecones, and lemons. The wreaths were hung outside. • Inside homes were pieces of holly that were stuffed behind paintings and mirrors. They also used cotton balls to act as snow.
Christmas Decorations (Continued) • A cone-shaped centerpiece composed of apples topped with a pineapple, placed on holly, was put in the middle of the table. • They also used to mix small lady apples, pinecones, and boxwood to make an X around a soup tureen and four candlesticks. • Churches that celebrated Christmas decorated their pews and alters with laurel and wound garlands of evergreen around the pulpit or platform.
Christmas Decorations (Continued) • As you know, some colonists began celebrating on the night of Sinterklaas Eve and did not stop until after Christmas day. • Shops were decorated with bright, silk curtains that hung to the floor and evergreens. The evergreens would stay set up until Candlemas (February 2nd). • Wives readied their homes for company by shining the brass, copper, and silver. They also sanded the floors. • On Sinterklaas Eve, they had many traditions. One of them was koek-plakken, which is cake-pasting. Young people would paste or wrap a gold or silver leaf on small cakes.
Garlands of evergreen Wreaths Cone-shaped centerpiece Holly that was used to stuff behind mirrors A church decorated for Christmas
Traditions and Customs of Christmas • Whoever was the hostess of the celebration would entertain their guests. They might do so with fiddlers, a jester, a tightrope walker, and an acrobat. • An important event, celebrated on Christmas, was carrying out the Yule log and putting it in the fire place. • Bits and pieces of the Yule log from the previous year was used to light the present one. • The old pieces were stored under the bed until next Christmas. • If a person was having troubles that year, they would throw a holly sprig into the fire to end their troubles.
Traditions and Customs of Christmas (Continued) • On Sinterklaas Eve, the guests danced, sang, and cake-pasted. • Children waited for Sinterklaas to come on his horse, with books, games, cakes, and fruits to give to them. • On Sinterklaas Eve, all children filled their shoes with hay and a carrot to give to Sinterklaas’ horse. This tradition is just like the one of today: children leave cookies and milk for Santa Claus. • On Twelfth Night, three candles were placed on the floor which children danced around. Adults would be led outside by three kings who each carried a pole with a lighted star on the end of it, and they would sing.
Traditions and Customs (Continued) • Children either hung stockings, left straw baskets, or plates of soup on the dining table for the “Christ Child” who entered through a keyhole. • These families built Christmas cribs, in which they placed straw on the bottom of it, and positioned animals in a manger. • A popular custom was hanging a mistletoe, or a “kissing bough”, made with evergreen and ribbon. People would also slip a piece of mistletoe in an invitation to wish the guests good fortune. • At celebrations, people would carry around wassail bowls, which were bowls filled with spiced ale, sugar, and apples. • People also enjoyed singing carols.
A holly sprig Colonists throwing the Yule log into the fire Colonists underneath the “kissing bough” Wassail bowl
GINGERBREAD COOKIES!!! INGREDIENTS 1 cup sugar 1 cup melted margarine 2 tsps. ginger ½ cup evaporated milk 1 tsp. nutmeg 1 cup unsulfured molasses 1 tsp. cinnamon ¾ tsp. vanilla extract 1 ½ tsps. baking soda ¾ tsp. lemon extract ½ tsp. salt 4 cups unbleached flour Directions • Combine the sugar, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Mix well. • Add the melted margarine, evaporated milk, and molasses. • Add the extracts. Mix well. • Add the flour-1 cup at a time, stirring constantly. Knead dough. • When dough is smooth, roll it out ¼ inch thick on a floured surface and cut into cookies. • Preheat oven 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake on floured or greased cookie sheets for 10 to 12 minutes.
URLS INTERNET SOURCES http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Xb9RvhJAJNQ/SxMJ1k_pFJI/AAAAAAAAAKM/1_CcIAGKtvw/s1600/sinterklaas1.jpg http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ingrid-hoffmann/three-kings-bread-rosca-de-reyes-recipe/index.html http://savory-cooking.blogspot.com/2007_12_01_archive.html http://www.joyofbaking.com/History.html http://www.flowershopnetwork.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/traditional_williamsburg.jpg http://www.squidoo.com/christmas-wreaths-colonial-williamsburg http://myfourrooms.blogspot.com/2010_12_01_archive.html http://www.jwwerner.com/ODC/OldDutchChurch.html http://susu.xanga.com/weblog/?uni-22-direction=n&uni-22-nextdate=12%2F15%2F2010+17%3A21%3A21.150 http://vulpeslibris.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/coming-up-this-week-12/ http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/pictures/wassail1.jpg http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_xBsIvRX5SYw/TP9m1v_SrJI/AAAAAAAAAVc/2r6YnwIhveQ/s1600/kissingbunch.jpg BOOK SOURCE Holidays and Celebrations in Colonial America by Russell Roberts
WISHING YOU A VERY COLONIAL CHRISTMAS!!