Regency folk were a sociable bunch, and the Easter Season (Easter through Ascension forty days later) was considered a time of visiting and traveling. But on the day of Easter itself, here's what you could expect to find in a nice Regency home. It's all about the food, the decor, and of course, the bonnets. :)
On the Table
On the Lady
Out & About
7. Easter Flowers
White lilies--the symbol of purity--and narcissus are most commonly associated with Easter, along with daffodils and tulips. But traditionally, the true "Easter Flower" is the pussy willow.
8. Traditional Easter Music
Good Regency folk like vicar's daughter Jane Austen, upon attending Easter morning services, would thrill to beloved traditional hymns like this... (Here's the link for those of you on RSS.)
9. Morris Dancers
Adding to the festive atmosphere, Morris dancers commonly performed throughout Holy Week and even on Easter day, and then into spring. Because real men wear flowers and ribbons on their hats!!! :) Adorable.
10. Merry Mischief ~ Regional Pranks
The Brits are world-famous for their sense of humor, so it's easy to see how this sort of Easter day silliness could take hold. From the Every Day Book, from "Easter Celebrations in the UK" posted here:
Easter Day Customs at Rippon, 1790
On Easter Sunday, as soon as the church services were over, the boys ran about the streets, and laid hold of every woman or girl they could, they would then take their buckles from their shoes. This farce was continued till the next day at noon, when the females began and returned the compliment upon the men, this did not end till Tuesday evening. At one time, no traveller could pass through the town without being stopped and having his spurs taken away, unless redeemed by a little money, which was the only way to have your buckles returned.
Thanks for visiting my blog, friends, and I hope you enjoy a lovely Easter with your nearest and dearest!
Peace to all in this very special season,
A little lighthearted fun in honor of St. Patrick's Day! One of the biggest celebrations of the year in my family.
BTW, if you have any funny superstitions to share, please tell us about them below! Forewarned is forearmed, after all! ;)
Hello, everyone! Well, I'm glad March is finally here, because February was a doozy. I was trucking along, working hard to finish up the final few chapters of the next Gryphon Chronicles book, when I came down with SUCH a bad cold that I was out of commission for a week.
I have not lost a full week of writing since the 90's. Thank goodness for Nyquil, Robitussin, Airborne, and Kleenexes, though, and especially thank goodness for my dear, darling husband, who took such good care of me the whole time. Now that's what I call a true Valentine! :) "In sickness and in health." Eric made me chicken soup, gave me chiropractic adjustments (he was a chiropractor for many years with a sideline in nutrition--getting adjusted boosts your immune system), and even bought walkie-talkies so I could call him whenever I needed anything.
We've been having a lot of fun with the walkie-talkies, actually, lol. It's way more fun than texting. I'm still trying to get the lingo down, though. All I know is "ten-four" and "over," lol. I decided I need a good radio/CB handle! I mentioned this on Facebook and one of my readers thought it should be Book Babe. *grin*
Anyway, once I started feeling better, I realized there were some tweaks I could make to my morning routine that would be a little healthier for me in general, like cutting down my coffee and going to bed earlier, etc. I thought I'd share my two big finds.
First, Eric started giving me this Amazing Grass Superfood Green Drink that I am singing the praises of. Trust me, he knows his health food stuff. This is vegan, organic, and GMO free. All I know is it makes me feel GREAT. I thought it would be disgusting to drink (it's just a powder, you mix it with a glass of water) but it doesn't taste bad at all, and the changes it's already made for me have been huge. I highly recommend it, especially to anyone who's got GIRD or digestive type issues, because it balances out your body's Ph levels so you're not acidic. Much to my surprise, it had a nice effect on my skin and even lessened the dark circles I tend to get under my eyes.
Anyway, the other really nice find that I came across while trying to get healthy again was this little 12-minute "Good Morning Stretch" by a personal trainer/coach on Youtube, Tara Davidson. It's a great little stretch routine that's quick and easy. It worked so well to ease the overall body aches and pains I had from being sick that I just decided to add it into my normal routine.
Well, by Sunday (Feb 28), I was still coughing a little, but itching to finally get out of the house. It was beautiful, warm, and sunny out, and Eric and I suddenly realized it was the last day of the annual Orchid and Bonsai Show at Phipp's Conservatory. This is one of my favorite events in my home city all year, so I was determined not to miss it.
Happily, we managed to get into town to see it and had a wonderful time. We took lots of pictures that I wanted to share with you guys ~ so, enjoy! (And PS: Stay healthy!)
“ ‘Heard of the Twelfth Night merry-making in Tom Shakeshaft’s barn, of course? Twelfth-cake — spiced ale — fiddling — dancing — all kinds of fun and frolic.’ ”
(from: William Harrison Ainsworth, The Life and Adventures of Mervyn Clitheroe, 1858 / Illustration by Hablot Knight Brown via Wiki Commons)
On January 6, Christians celebrate Epiphany, the arrival of the Three Magi (or Three Wise Men or Three Kings) with presents for Baby Jesus (though what a baby is supposed to do with myrhh and frankincense is anybody’s guess). In the English tradition, the evening before is referred to as Twelfth Night and marks the end of the 12 Days of Christmas.
For centuries, it was a fun, festive day, and even though by the Regency period, festivities had become much tamer than they were in, say, the Middle Ages, there was still plenty of fun and partying.
But what would a party be without cake? And not just any cake! (Click "Read More" below picture to continue.)
I don’t know about you, but for me, 2015 was a year of MASSIVE change and transformation. If there was one overall theme, for me it was courage—namely because I did so many things that scared the crap outta me, lol! But you've got to take chances in this life if you’re going to grow, right? So I did.
I broke way, way out of my comfort zone this year on several fronts. The biggest breakthrough, really, was in crashing through the narrow boundaries of how I had seen myself for so long—my role, my possibilities. At the end of 2014, I started asking myself a very powerful question: “WHY NOT? Why CAN’T I do this or that thing I’ve been wanting to try? I’ve only got one life, damn it.” That philosophy is what drove me to become a writer in the first place. If you've got a dream, you gotta try!
So, somehow, throughout 2015, stubbornness kept me from wimping out when that question led me ever deeper into unknown territory. Lo and behold, at the end of the year, I find myself a much stronger person and a more versatile writer, so all the white-knuckle moments were worth it.
But it did take constant effort and getting used to working 10-hour days. I expanded my storytelling repertoire, finally taking the time to explore the non-Regency romance ideas that had been calling to me from my file drawer for a long time, and it was so much fun! I experimented with different writing methods, such as very detailed outlining, creating a “Worldbook” (full "story bible" of characters, settings, etc.) BEFORE beginning to write, rather than figuring out details of my story as a I go (which slows the process down terribly). I invested time and effort in training myself to use Dragon dictation for the first drafts of my scenes, and also took up a very effective new habit of working in 25-minute bursts in what is called the Pomodoro Method. This has been shown to help you stay sharp for intense mental work over a longer workday...
Each year it's my tradition to post a favorite carol on my blog over the busy Christmas holiday. This year, however, I thought I'd share something a bit different. Here's a truly magical treat, set to the tune of a lovely Strauss waltz that always makes me think of ice-skating.. These enchanting Lipizzaner stallions and their riders look like a toy soldier cavalry come to life under the Christmas tree ~ an equine ballet fit for the Nutcracker. Simply breathtaking. Enjoy! Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Peace, love, and light to you all, Gaelen (posing with the dancing gingerbread men in one of the Christmas display windows at Lord & Taylor in NYC earlier this month! They moved--fun!)
From ancient times, the Western world has celebrated spring with a festival at the end of April and starting into May. The Romans called it the Floralia because Flora was the goddess of flowers and as you'll notice, things these days are starting to bloom!
In German regions, it's known as Walpurgis Night, but to the Celtic peoples of Ireland and the British Isles called their celebration Beltane. It ran from April 30 to May 1 or even extending to May 3rd or so, though they based it on astrological movements in the heavens, not on the calendar. (They waited for the sun to enter Taurus.)
Beltane is the spring fire festival and you can think of it is as the opposite in feeling from Halloween (which these ancient peoples also started in the form of Samhain). If Samhain was dark and scary and oriented toward death and the approaching winter, Beltane was colorful and flirty, all about joy and life and ensuring the fertility of crops, livestock, and human families, too.
Of course, in the most ancient of pagan times, there was also a little human sacrifice involved in Beltane celebrations--! Probably not so joyful for that guy, whoever got chosen to end up getting burned on the Beltane fires. Over time, thankfully, the human sacrifice died out (ha, ha, pun intended) and morphed into smaller-scale brushes with the "sacred fire."
For example, it was considered good luck to jump over the Beltane bonfire if it was small enough. Or they would build two fires and the daredevils wanting good luck would have to run between them. In other regions, they contented themselves with simply baking a bannock cake over the "lucky" fire and that way, they could consume the good luck. Not all places celebrated the same way.
However, if there is one enduring symbol of May Day, it is the charming sight of people dancing around the May pole. Below you'll find a video from an elementary school in England where the little girls from the school demonstrate dancing around the May pole. The video is a little long but if you scroll ahead you'll enjoy, I think, seeing the parents and the rest of the community join in this merry, ancient tradition. It's really pretty adorable.
Below that, if you're wondering what the boys were doing on May Day while the girls were dancing around the May pole, it's called Morris dancing! (Nowadays, Morris dancing is for both genders, but originally it was a war- or sword-themed dance for men.) I love seeing modern people committed to ancient traditions handed down to them from centuries worth of their ancestors! Happy Beltane ~ and Enjoy! ~ G.
To find out more details about old Beltane practices, check out this link on Bartleby to this excerpt from Sir George Frazer's 1922 book, The Golden Bough, Ch. 62.
And one more video for my romance readers, here's a group of Englishmen singing an old May Day song at a pub in Padstow, Cornwall in exchange for a round on the house. (Not included on the kidlit site because alcohol is shown.) Great voices, and doesn't that look fun! The Padstow May Day celebrations are internationally famous and very old. First written mention dates to 1803, when it would've already been traditional, so known to our Regency-era people.
Dear Friends, Thank you for another year of allowing me to entertain you with my books. I wish you all the best in this holiday season and hope the new year brings you your heart's desire. Thought I would pass along some truly dazzling Christmas inspiration. This is John Eliot Gardiner conducting the Monteverdi Choir in a gorgeous passage from Bach's Christmas Oratorio. I can't get enough of it! Until next time, with hugs to all! ~ Gaelen
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