No era in history has influenced how we celebrate Christmas, quite as much as the Victorians. Before Queen Victoria’s reign, Christmas celebrations were bleak, or non-existent. Christmas trees went undecorated, Christmas cards not sent, and not many knew of the Jolly Ole Saint Nick. In the same right, the process of giving and receiving gifts was not a Christmas tradition.
Victorian Crazy Quilts
The term “Crazy Quilt” refers to a type of patchwork quilt that was wildly popular in the late 1800s. But it could also credit those who attempted the stitchery.
In 1884, Harper’s Bazaar estimated that a full-sized quilt might take 1,500 hours to complete! If a Victorian sewed 8 hours per day, the masterpiece would be complete in 187 days. Otherwise measured as 26 weeks or half a year.
Fashioned from irregularly shaped pieces of fabric in a variety of exotic materials, Crazy quilts were especially trendy among urban, upper-class Victorian women.
Host your own Victorian Celebration! A few scrumptious treats, savoury platters of delicacies and some raucous parlour games are sure to be a welcomed respite from our digital age.
It is said that the tradition of afternoon tea was established by Anne, Duchess of Bedford. Anne requested that light sandwiches be brought to her in the late afternoon because she had a “sinking feeling” during the long gap between meals. She then began to invite others to join her and thus became the tradition.
During the Victorian Era, death was everywhere. The infant mortality rate was alarmingly high, countless lives were lost to industrial equipment, and all the while a single disease could take an entire family. With such an abundance of death, survivors were left full of anguish. Thus Spiritualism – the belief that ghosts exist and we can communicate with them – came into existence.
Victorians were incredibly thoughtful and symbolic. Every aspect of their life from clothing to tapestries to paintings were brimming with symbolism. Jewelry in that period was no exception- be it on pendants, brooches, bracelets, rings and more – it imbued symbolism.
Following Britain’s Industrial Revolution, a design movement emerged as a way to create products that not only had integrity but were made in a less dehumanizing way. The campaign was coined “the Arts and Crafts movement”, and it had a significant impact on how Victorian society viewed production. The movement reformed the design and manufacture of everything from buildings to jewelry.