A Surprising Way to Celebrate Christmas and New Years in the Early 1800s

A Surprising Way to Celebrate Christmas and New Years in the Early 1800s

by Sandra Merville Hart

A surprising way those living in the country celebrated Christmas and New Years in the early 1800s was with Shooting and Raffling Matches.

A generous person bought gifts

Someone in the community bought generous amounts of coffee, tea, and other goods and wrapped them in many small packages. These goods would then be raffled off at a specific price per chance.

Shooting at a target took place during the day with a rifle. Raffles happened in the evening.

Raffle winners found by coins in a hat

To find raffle winners, copper cents were tossed into a hat, shaken up, and thrown on the table by a chance holder. The most number of heads in a certain number of throws decided the winner of the prize.

Shooting New Year

Shooting New Year was another surprising annual event. A group of men, wearing masks, went from house to house to wish neighbors “Happy New Year.”

It didn’t upset these neighbors to be awakened at midnight. They invited the men inside for cider, apples, and cake.

 

Sources

Welker, Martin. 1830’s Farm Life in Central Ohio, Clapper’s Print, 2005.

 

 

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