Holly Johnson: Celebrating the New Year 100 years ago

Published 6:30 am Saturday, January 2, 2021

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Happy New Year!  No matter if you had a party for one or a virtual celebration online with many to ring in the new year, a new calendar is upon us.  Let’s take a look at how people over 100 years ago celebrated compared to the 2020 COVID world.

From Dec. 31, 1908

“Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Manning and Mr. and Mrs. Fred Manning of St. Paul came down for a New Year’s family reunion at the John Manning home. Stanley Manning is superintendent of the fire alarm system.”

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2020 rendition: Stan and Peg joined the Zoom party as did their other family members for a virtual New Year’s family reunion.  Stan has been laid off since April.

“Don’t forget that New Years Eve dance given by the Hose Co. No. 1 at the Auditorium Thursday evening.  It will be the best as well as the last dance of 1908.”

2020 rendition: The fire department, in following guidelines from the CDC, suggest that if you are going to dance do so only with someone from your household and to slow music so droplets don’t spread too far.

From Jan. 3, 1910 under the heading “Social Events”

“Mr. and Mrs. Ed Feeney entertained a party of friends New Years Eve at an elaborate six course six o’clock dinner.”

2020 rendition: Eddy and his wife treated their household of 3 to a Pizza Hut Big Dinner Box at 8 and then were asleep by 10.

“Miss Erma Owen entertained at a Watch Party New Years Eve.  Games and music were enjoyed and refreshments served.”

2020 rendition: 4 young people stood in a garage and looked at the stars while listening to Spotify and playing games on their phones.  Everyone brought their own snack.

And from the Jan. 2, 1904 paper, the following party could never have been held in 2020:

“About forty guest enjoyed a delightful new years party at the S.D. Catherwood home on Kenwood avenue in honor of Mrs. Case Allen. At 10:30 refreshments were served and at the stroke of 12 all joined hands and sang “Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot.” The guests then drank from the Loving Cup after which each was given a fagot which he cast upon the fire and while it burnt he made a new year’s wish.”

No way did this happen in a 2020 party!  40 people! Holding hands! Singing as a group!  And drinking from the same cup! Oh my gosh!!!!

So whether you played games, wore a ball gown, listened to music, or had dinner at midnight, you made it to the next year.  Wonder what 2021 will bring.