A Dickens of a Christmas is a long-standing tradition in the Spartanburg community. This Victorian-era celebration is based on A Christmas Carol, the novel written by Charles Dickens. Below are just a few of the characters that you will meet in downtown Spartanburg.
The London police force was created in 1829 by Sir Robert Peel and became affectionately known as “Bobbies.” They were the first professional police force and have been copied by cities around the world. Their only regular weapon is a short, wooden truncheon, which they keep out of sight and may not employ except in self-defense or to restore order.
The custom of caroling is a purely English tradition which was quickly taken up by America.
The Victorians loved music and, as part of their holiday celebrations, began to revive old medieval English carols. They also composed new ones, both secular and religious, most of which are English. Parlor singing also became a popular form of home entertainment since the Victorians had no radio, television, or Internet. The tradition of caroling from door-to-door originated with the “waits,” an ancient English custom of going from house to house and singing in exchange for food. The tradition soon caught on with everyone with carolers stopping at houses hoping to be invited in for a warm drink.
Victorian Era festive seasons were often filled with aromas of pots of warm cider and pans of roasted chestnuts. You will be able to sample roasted chestnuts on Main Street to get a true taste to days gone by.
In Victorian years, chemists often dispensed medicines, herbal remedies, household goods and toiletries. Known today as a pharmacist, the chemist would be positioned at a shop counter or hidden behind a large screen here he prepared and dispensed the medications.
When a party of adults gathered for eating, dancing and polite conversation, and parlor games were often included as part of the entertainment. The games afforded members of the gathering to opportunity for social mixing, flirting, laughing, physical contact and watching one another play the fool.
The first tuned hand bells were developed in England between 1696 and 1724. A hand bell choir or hand bell ensemble is a group that rings recognizable music with melodies and harmony. Unlike an orchestra or choir in which each musician is responsible for one line of the texture, a bell ensemble acts as one instrument, with each musician responsible for particular notes, sounding his or her assigned bells whenever that note appears in the music.
Ebenezer Scrooge is the main character in A Christmas Carol, the novel written by Charles Dickens novel. At the beginning of the novel, Scrooge is a cold-hearted, tight fisted, greedy man, who despises Christmas and often says “Bah Humbug!” He is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, Ghost of Christmas Present, and Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Scrooge begs for a chance to change his ways and becomes a model of generosity and kindness.
The suffrage movement was mainly women from middle class backgrounds. These women were frustrated by their social and economic situation and sought for an outlet through which to initiate change. Their struggles for change within society focused on the right of women to vote.
A town crier is an officer of the court who makes public announcements in the streets. Criers often dress elaborately, by a tradition dating to the 18th century, in a red and gold robe, white breeches, black boots and a tricorne hat. The crier carries a hand bell and shouts “hear ye,” which is a call for silence and attention.
Early quilters thought of themselves as crafters, not artists. After all, quilts were made for just one purpose: to keep people warm while they slept.
Unlike modern dancing that is couple-oriented, dancing in the mid-Victorian era was much more social-oriented. Most dances were done in formations of circles, squares or lines, with the couples interacting with other couples. It was ill-mannered to dance with the same partner all evening. Everyone at a ball had a social duty to mingle and to ensure that everyone else had a pleasant time.
The artisan used a variety of hand-held cutting tools to craft wooden figurines, toys, and furniture.