Happy New Year, dear friends!
I have another postcard/trade card illustrated post for you!
(All ephemera is from my personal collection unless otherwise noted.)
As we listen to the bells ring out the old year and ring in the new while the clock strikes twelve...
let us prepare for our Victorian New Year's Day open house.
(Over a century ago New Year's day, rather than New Year's eve, was the time for gala entertaining and Open Houses, usually held from noon until six p.m. Tradition held that all the ladies of a family, and all boys under the age of ten, stayed at home to receive callers while the gentlemen went out to pay visits.)
Look, our first visitors of the day are here. Oh, what fun!
(photo from Victorian Family Celebrations by Sarah Ban Breathnach)
I'm so glad they brought their precious children along, it makes for such a delightful and eventful day, and...
(It really is my husband's birthday and my daughter turns 13 on the 6th.)
Speaking of paying visits, arriving next door is a sleigh full of bachelor's, they have come to drop off their younger siblings and pick up a few more bachelor's so they can go and pay visits to all the eligible young ladies in town!
Newspapers would even print lists of the homes that would be open and the hours they were receiving visitors. The only requirement for admission was a calling card.
The below card has a little flap that says "Only Happy Hours" with the name of the young man being August H. Rux.
(Hmmm...sounds a little romantic, don't ya think?)
and when you open the flap you see a cute little photo of the young man who has come to pay a visit.
Upon arrival the young man would be introduced to the eligible women of the household, under the watchful eyes of parents and relatives.
Not surprisingly, the custom quickly became sport. Young men would try to rack up as many as 50 calls a day (being more interested in becoming intoxicated than in meeting their hosts' eligible daughters)! Young women would angrily collect calling cards as if they were butterfly specimens! By the late 1880's the hospitality of the day had been so abused that opening up one's house on New Year's Day to strangers was snuffed out by social disapproval. During the 1890's the tradition of New Year's Eve open houses evolved into "family calls" and receptions for invited guests only. After WWI, the custom of New Year's Day "calling" disappeared and New Year's Eve parties became the popular thing to do.
(above info from Victorian Family Celebrations by Sarah Ban Breathnach)
With the New Year came wishes of prosperity, good fortune and good luck. Depicting as symbols of good luck on the above postcards are the steamboat's pilot wheel, a wishbone and a horseshoe.
Below is my New Year's greeting to you, the angels depicting each of you, my sweet blogger friends.
I want to thank each and every one of you for following and reading my blog this past year and for your friendship. I get so much joy and inspiration from reading your blogs, I hope you get that from mine as well. From my house to yours, have a blessed 2013!