Historical Holiday Items on Display on Central Oregon Coast
(Newport, Oregon) - A collection of historical postcards from Halloween and Thanksgiving is now on display in Newport, at the Burrows House Museum of the Lincoln County Historical Society. Halloween cards were common in the early 1900s, focusing on cats, pumpkins, and witches – and the central Oregon coast had no shortage of these from that holiday as well as from Thanksgiving.
Halloween likely dates back 2,000 years ago to the Celts in Ireland and the U.K., who celebrated their new year on November 1. This marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter. The day before – on October 31 - they celebrated Samhain, believing that was the time the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. Halloween also coincides with the Christian celebration of
Thanksgiving harkens back to President George Washington in the 1700's, who declared November 26 to be a day of thanksgiving and prayer. Later, President Abraham Lincoln changed it to the fourth Tuesday of November, and President Franklin Roosevelt declared the fourth Thursday as Thanksgiving, which is when we now celebrate.
What was eaten at that first harvest feast at Plymouth back in 1621 has been a bit altered over the centuries. There were no candies, sweets of any kind or milk present at that celebrated meal between the Pilgrims and the native people, because the Europeans did not bring cows or sugar with them. Instead, says Historical Society director Diane Disse, the fare was a lot more basic and read like a health food menu.
“The foods they ate included: wild fowl such as turkey, goose, duck, crane, swan, partridge and eagles; meat and seafood such as venison, seal, cod, eel, clams and lobster; fruits, vegetables, and nuts such as pumpkin, peas, beans, onions, lettuce, radishes, carrots, plums, grapes, walnuts, chestnuts and acorns,” Disse said. “Corn would have been out of season, and sweet potatoes were not common.”
Settlers came to the central Oregon coast area in the mid-1800s from other parts of North America or from their countries of origin. As they learned about local food products and dealt with availability of ingredients, they adapted and created new traditions. Mushrooms, hazelnuts, apples, oysters, seafood and fish are part of this region’s heritage.
The Lincoln County Historical Society, Burrows House and Log Cabin museums are located at 545 SW Ninth Street in Newport. The museums are free and open to the public. The Burrows House Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; the Log Cabin Museum is open Thursday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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