Tomorrow (the day before Halloween) at my boys' school, I get the seriously fun opportunity to educate the young minds of Mrs. Schlagel's 7th grade history class about mourning customs in the 1860s as well as ladies fashion from that era! I am so ecstatic I can hardly contain myself!!! Seriously. I am about vibrating out of my skin!!! I LOVE Victorian mourning customs and mourning dresses!! This is totally in the realm of my happiness!!
Mrs. S. approached me almost a month ago about doing an educational segment for her history class, as around Halloween time they would be learning about the oppression that was upon women and slaves in the 1860s. We chatted about what she wanted (how even the clothing women wore could be considered restrictive) and I went home all a twitter, my brain churning out the possibilities of what I would teach! As I thought about the outfit I would wear, my mind kept going to my 1863 mourning dress. The mourning customs of the 1860s, if one chose to follow them, were very restrictive especially for women. What another great aspect to tie into the theme of what Mrs. S. was teaching! I turned to the internet searching for new information that I could pass along to the students. I found a wonderful website called "Table Matters" run by the Pennoni Honors College at Drexel University. On the site, they featured an article titled "A Snack Called Death". I learned a lot about a new to me custom and they share a wonderful recipe for Funeral Cookies. I was so excited to discover this new custom that I decided I needed to make some of these funeral cookies to share with the kids.
I wanted a fun way to distribute them and thought it would be nifty to put them in parchment envelopes the way the article says they were packaged in Victorian times. I used a black wax seal with the "W" embossing stamp I have had since my wedding invitations went out almost 23 years ago. Great idea in theory, will see how they are tomorrow. Note to self: wax doesn't like to stick on waxed parchment paper! Oh well, the cookies are really delicious. Not overly sweet like we as 21 century people who are used to eating...all sugary and sweet. The ginger and molasses are the real stars of these cookies. My boys and husband thought they were very tasty so that's a score!
Some of my mourning collection: A tear bottle, deep mourning handkerchief, handkerchief pocket and an embossed mourning card.
Close up of beautiful mourning card from 1868 for Joseph Heywood.
Black wax seals. These turned out so beautifully!
Delicious and unusual funeral cookies.
So, if you are hosting a Halloween party, you might want to consider adding these to your menu! Then tell you friends about the custom of funeral cookies and sin eaters (covered in the article linked above)! Be sure to watch thier faces for their reactions!!
Be blessed my friends and if you are taking your little ones Trick-or-Treating Friday night, be safe!