Mrs. Sharp's Traditions: Reviving Victorian Family Celebrations of Comfort & Joy is a book originally published in 1990 by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Some might recognize her as the author of the bestseller, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy. Simple Abundance was written later--Mrs. Sharp's Traditions was her first book.
Writing in the voice of the fictional Victorian homemaker and mother of 12 Victoriana Sharp, Ms. Ban Breathnach takes the reader through the year month by month, and describes in detail the type of customs, crafts and celebrations that families in the late 1800s enjoyed. Short essays on the history of different holidays are included, as well as a special poem for each month. Delightful illustrations from the Victorian era decorate each page.
Although this book may catalogue the traditions of times past, it was written by a modern author with the goal of providing inspiration to modern families. And that is exactly what it does. Not only was this book a joy to read, it gave me many ideas for new traditions I would like to include in our own family holidays. The book also contains many lovely ideas for family traditions and rituals that are carried out all year round--for example, the author details how to plan a weekly Family Night, how to create calming bedtime rituals, and how to make outings in the country memorable for children.
Where holidays are concerned, the book deals with all the ones we are familiar with in North America (including Jewish holidays), as well as several European holidays we may not be familiar with, such as Michaelmas, All Soul's Day, and St. Lucia's Day. The changing of the seasons are also talked about--for example, she includes some nice ideas for making crafts with nature's bounty in the autumn.
This is a wonderful resource for families of young children who would like to add some new rituals and traditions into their life. I highly recommend Mrs. Sharp's Traditions to any mother who would like to make next year's seasonal changes and holidays a little more special and memorable for her children.