Christmas has not always included a big tree, sparkling lights or silvery tinsel, however many traditions including carols, cookies and spending time with friends and family have been a part of the holiday season for hundreds of years.
Martin’s Station at Wilderness Road State Park will be celebrating the holidays on Dec. 10 from 5 p.m. until 6 p.m. with 18th century traditions during ‘A Frontier Christmas’.
“Christmas as we celebrate today was pretty much nothing like we celebrated then. As far as gift giving in the 18th century, it was the master receiving gifts from his subordinates and kids didn’t really get anything except maybe a piece of candy on the morning of. In fact, on the frontier very few families probably even celebrated,” said Billy Heck, Chief Ranger.
According to Heck, pine boughs may have decorated homes, similar to today’s tradition, and carols including Oh Holy Night, The Twelve Days of Christmas and Silent Night have roots dating back to more than 300 years will be sung that evening.
“What we’ll be portraying is a traditional celebration of a typical Anglican Christmas in Virginia. Christmas was a pagan holiday in Europe, which is where some of the disdain came from. The puritans and the Massachusetts colony did not celebrate it and could actually be fined or put in jail if they were caught,” said Heck.
The fort will also be open that day for visitors to see reenactors celebrating the season with a traditional feast. One of the reenactors will be reading the story of Christmas.
“We’ll gather around a fire, have gingersnap cookies, sing carols with the visitors and read the story of Christmas. Visitors love it and I think it puts them in the spirit,” said Heck.
Admission is free for ‘A Frontier Christmas’.
The Karlan Mansion at WRSP will also be holding ChristmasFest from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Dec. 10 and Dec. 17. Beautifully decorated trees and wreaths will fill the mansion. On Dec. 11 and 12, the Friends of WRSP will host an open house at the mansion from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.
Reach Kelsey Gerhardt at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardtmbdn.