A Victorian Easter Diary

26th March, 1874.

Dear Diary,

It’s our Easter Holiday. At last, the long cold winter is over and spring is finally here.

Tomorrow is the Easter hunt in the woods by the school. It will be such fun! Last year, the sounds of excitement filled the forest. My friends and I laughed until we hurt. It was beautiful—the air was filled with a sweet scent of wild flowers and the birds were singing their hearts out. I loved the crackling sound of the twigs beneath our shoes as we frantically searched here and there.

And what treats await us! Colored eggs, Easter gifts, and chocolates lie hidden in hedgerows, in the tangled roots of the mighty beech trees, and amongst the pockets of pale yellow primroses.

An Easter Holiday, the Children of Bloomsbury Parochial School in a Wood at Watford by James Aumonier, 1874.
An Easter Holiday, the Children of Bloomsbury Parochial School in a Wood at Watford by James Aumonier, 1874.

We were really busy today preparing for tomorrow’s Easter hunt. Grandpa helped us dye the Easter eggs.

We dyed and painted three dozen chicken eggs and put them in a basket filled with straw to look like a bird’s nest.

Grandpa showed us how to make different colors for the eggs by boiling them with leaves or onions. We got red by boiling with onion skins and beetroot, gold with marigold flower, violet with mallow flower, and green with periwinkle leaves.

Preparing for Easter by Mikhail Germashev
Preparing for Easter by Mikhail Germashev

Then all the parents and teachers went out to hide them in the woods—for us to find tomorrow morning.

It’s so exciting! How can I possibly sleep tonight?

After we finished coloring the eggs, Mother said a prayer for them and picked some wild flowers to make our egg basket the prettiest you ever saw!

Lord, let the grace of your blessing come upon these eggs, that they be healthful food for your faithful who eat them in thanksgiving for the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you forever and ever.—from the Roman Ritual.
Easter Sunday by George Hitchcock c. 1904 - Copy
Easter Sunday by George Hitchcock

Before dinner, Mother wrote the Easter Greetings cards to all our family and friends.

She said it’s thanks to Sir Rowland Hill for creating the Uniform Penny Post that we can afford to send twenty cards this year! It costs a penny to send each one. All we have to do is put the cards into an envelope and fix a stamp to it.

Grandpa remembers the old days before stamps, when he used to have to pay to receive cards. How nice it is to live in the modern Victorian era! Mother always says we must count our blessings—I’m so lucky and thankful!

These are our cards that we chose together at the post office. The lady behind the counter was so nice and friendly. She even helped us choose some of the cards.

Easter Greetings19

Easter Greetings18

Easter Greetings17

Easter Greetings16

Easter Greetings15

Easter Greetings14

Easter Greetings13

Easter Greetings12

Easter Greetings10

Easter Greetings9

Easter Greetings8

Easter Greetings7 - Copy

Easter Greetings6 - Copy

Easter Greetings5 - Copy

Easter Greetings4 - Copy

Easter Greetings3 - Copy

Easter Greetings2 - Copy

My favorite card is the last one—the little chicks are admiring a huge pink egg.

Mother told me and my little brother a bedtime story about some special eggs made for the Russian Royal family. Some day I want to see them—just like a real princess. Hope that’s my dream tonight.

Goodnight dear diary. Sleep tight …

Imperial easter egg Renaissance from the collection of the Fabergé Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Imperial easter egg Renaissance from the collection of the Fabergé Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

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