Fort Langley National Historic Site will host a Christmas that harkens back to the 1840s and 1850s.
Christmas was quite different for the early fur traders, voyageurs, and their First Nations wives in the days of the Hudson's Bay Company, said Hayley Slipiec, who is organizing this year's Heritage Holiday at the Fort.
The traders and Fort employees got two days off, on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
"They were each given a ration of rum," Slipiec said.
Then on Christmas Day, the chief factor - essentially the manager and top trader at the fort - would host a feast and party in the Big House, his residence.
"Generally there would have been a dance," said Slipiec.
The feast would likely have been a meat-and-potatoes affair, with food locally produced by the traders, who established a number of gardens and farms over the years. They also were known to hunt wild birds and trade with the nearby First Nations, in particular with the Kwantlen people.
For music, there would have been a sound that reminded them of the homes in Eastern Canada or Europe they had left behind - a piano.
Mrs. Newton, wife of the chief trader, had brought one with her. Newton was one of the few European
women in what would become Western Canada.
For the Heritage Holiday, the Historic Site won't be handing out any rum.
They will be doing a series of activities, every day between Dec. 22 and Jan. 1:
. 11 a.m., Blacksmithing demonstration
. Noon, heritage hot chocolate
. 1 p.m., cookie decorating
. 3 p.m., stories around the bonfire.
The National Historic Site will be closed on Dec. 25 and 26, and on Jan. 1.
For more information on events at the fort, call 604513-4777.
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