Late-night ruckus started as assault on newlyweds
When I was growing up in Minnesota and South Dakota in the 1950s, newlyweds were the subject of a shivaree. Neighbors would stand outside the bedroom in the middle of the night, fire shotguns in the air, beat on doors and walls, and the couple had to get up and make a lunch for everyone. Does this occur
anymore and where did it originate?
I certainly hope it doesn’t happen anymore. It sounds terrible.
I put in some actual work on this and found out it used to be very common, especially in the Midwest and parts of Canada. It is part of an old tradition from England and parts of Europe and it wasn’t always meant as good clean fun.
In the Old World it was known as charivari and was a kind of social regulation.
It was a way for communities to break up any relationships they didn’t approve of.
According to findmypast.com, “Adulterers, wife beaters and couples seen as having illegitimate marriages were all at risk to have their doors knocked down by an angry mob in the middle of the night. Some communities disapproved of a large age-gap between spouses, or if a widow remarried too soon after her husband died.
“The intervention involved noisemaking, shaming activities (being paraded around town on a donkey) and sometimes even killing. While they sometimes resulted in the permanent dissolution of the couple, they often were just a way for the community to loudly voice their disapproval of the event — many times life resumed as normal afterwards.”
Gasoline is $2.59.9. What’s the .9 for?
It’s the old marketing idea that $2.59.9 is cheaper than $2.60. Why this tradition persists, I don’t know. It goes back to the days when the federal government first imposed a tax of a fraction of a cent on gasoline.
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