November 23, 2008

More Costumed Beggars on Thanksgiving

When I posted about Guy Fawkes Day, I mentioned that children in costume would often beg at their neighbors' houses for food on Thanksgiving Day.

George Lunt, in his 1873 book Old New England Traits, also mentions this tradition. He notes that poor people would go door to door, begging for "something for Thanksgiving." Children who weren't poor would often join in as well, dressing up in rags and traveling in gangs around their neighborhood. However, the well-off children did it more as a prank, and would run away after making their request for food.

You can find the entire text of Lunt's book here, but I found this information about Thanksgiving while reading Botkin's Treasury of New England Folklore.

1 comment:

Rich Clabaugh said...

Interesting how our holidays have evolved over the years, thanks for sharing Peter!