Saturday, June 1, 2013

Church Record Sunday / Celebrating Children's Day

     When I began researching my family many years ago I naturally read all the old local newspapers I could lay my hands on.  One of the things I discovered was, "Children's Day".  Who knew?  When I used to ask my Mother why there was a Mother's Day and Father's Day but no Children's Day she always said, "because every day is children's day, that's why, now eat your lima beans".

     Lo and behold, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the second Sunday in June was set aside as... Children's Day!  First celebrated in June of 1856 at the Universalist Church in Chelsea, Massachusetts, by 1868  Children's Day had gone nationwide.

     Churches observed it as a day to be thankful for their children and rededicate those children to Christianity.  The postcard shown here was one of my Ebay finds.  It shows the altar decorated for Children's Day, 1908 by the children themselves; members of my 3nd great aunt Flora Post's Sunday school class at the Manchester Methodist/Episcopal Church.  The card is actually in her handwriting!

     Flora was the daughter of Paul Worden and Louisa Wheat, and the sister of my 2nd great grandmother Mary Worden Warner.  All of them lived in Manchester, New York, Flora only steps from the church whose altar is pictured here.  

     Flora had no children of her own and to tell you the truth it sounds like she was kinda stuffy.  Her husband lived in a nearby city where he held some sort of position with the church, which may explain why there were no children; he did visit from time to time however. Flora amused herself by teaching Sunday School, boarding old maid school teachers and joining societies like the Women's Christian Temperance Union.  But who am I to judge?

     Sadly enough, Children's Day, like so many other good ideas, has gone the way of soda fountains and prizes that don't stink in your box of Cracker Jack.  However, the UN now recognizes a Universal Children's Day on November 20, so maybe it will make a comeback.

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