Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mourning Tea

Mourning Traditions Tea
Originally uploaded by dragonflydesignstudio

The culmination of the mourning exhibit was our 11 am and 2 pm mourning traditions tea on the 5th. This shot shows the dining room and the back parlor. There was seating in the front parlor as well. 28 could be seated in the 3 rooms. Both teas had sold out with a waiting list.

It was a bit chaotic getting set up and ready for the first tea but things ran smoother by the second seating. Marge Harding was the speaker for this event. She is fabulous and her collection of mourning items is just amazing. She starts out in character as a widow who has come to Deepwood to drape the house for the owner who is in seclusion. She explains many of the traditions that go hand in hand with death and grieving in the 1800s. My favorite part is when she describes coffins with bells in case someone was buried alive they can ring the bell and literally be saved by the bell. Audiences love that bit.

While Marge was taking questions and passing around some of her collection the 3 course tea was being served. New caterer that I think is a keeper. At the end of the tea guests were escorted upstairs to view the exhibit. After the first tea the staff reset things and I got to eat some of the good food. The wild mushroom tartlet and the death by chocolate cupcake were so tasty.

It was a long day and so worth it. Guests enjoyed themselves and I had the bonus of talking with an old friend. Made a new friend or two as well.


Lisa said...

That sounds like a really cool event - no wonder there's a waiting list!

ShellHawk said...

I wish I could have been there! It sounds like a really well thought out day, and what a wonderful idea!

Anonymous said...

Regarding coffins with bells. Bells were also put in the ground next to the grave with a string going down into the coffin so that the inhabitant could ring the above ground bell if necessary. Apparently there are diseases that could leave a person in a death-like state with the definate possibility of coming out of that state after a time. Of course I assume we treat such diseases better today eliminating a need for a bell. This is however, I believe, the origin of the term, "dead ringer." Betty

Old Fashion Halloween said...


You are correct there were a number of devices. A look through patent applications for coffin alarms of the time is really interesting. Once embalming became an accepted practice that of course eliminated the need for the alarms.