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Families in History - Entertainment

In times past, as now, people loved to be entertained. The history of entertainment is as varied as any human activity, ranging from storytelling to professional performances. Holiday pictures show traditional activities, from ringing in the New Year to Christmas gift-giving. Families get together for Thanksgiving dinner, Independence Day festivities, and Halloween pranks. The origins of Passover, Memorial Day, and other special days are rooted in history and tradition.

Vintage pictures of family parties may show formal dinners of high society, or special frontier meals enjoyed with gusto. In fact, feasts and other traditions centered around food are at the heart of most historical festivities. Music and dance have been essential in pictures of celebrations since ancient times, including vintage weddings and other rituals.

Images show the historical importance of games and sports. Competitive sports are pictured in the ancient Olympic Games and in the revival of the Olympics in Athens in 1896. Falconry and fencing were among medieval sports. Native American sports included racing, lacrosse, and archery. Spectator sports have a long history, too, such as horse racing and various ball games, including 19th-century baseball and American football. A relatively new sport displaying traditional cowboy skills is rodeo competition.

Other forms of outdoor recreation people have enjoyed in the past are hiking and mountaineering, fishing, tennis, horseback riding, and yachting. Bowling was originally played outdoors. Historical pictures show families also had fun participating in winter sports such as sledding, sleighing, and skating.

Vintage vacation travel images are scarce until the 1800s, when people began to enjoy cruise ships, sunbathing and swimming, and summer resorts. Tourists began to visit the pyramids and other exotic destinations, and the US conserved land for the first national parks.

Children in the past have amused themselves with toys, swings, pets, and playing with other children. Storytelling and reading have entertained children as well as adults through history. Chess and other board games have long histories as a form of indoor recreation, as seen in historical pictures.

Historical images of theater and circus performances range from Shakespearean drama to clowns and animal acts like dancing bears. The pictures are almost as entertaining as the performances were. History of the theater also includes musical performances and classical composers. Public events have kept crowds lively from the days of the Roman Forum. These events include medieval festivals, local parades, and world fairs and industrial expositions that began in the 1800s and culminated in the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago where the Ferris Wheel was introduced. Historical pictures of entertainment would be incomplete without including political campaigns, which have engaged crowds across the United States.


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