When Thanksgiving was known as Ragamuffin Day! Forgotten tradition saw poor children dressed in costumes and spooky masks hit adults with flour filled sacks if they didn't give them money (13 Pics)

At first glance, these images might look like a celebration of Halloween - but they actually show a Thanksgiving tradition was popular more than a century ago.
Decades before trick-or-treating became a popular Halloween custom,Thanksgiving celebrations saw mostly poor children parade through the streets in costume wearing painted faces or donning unsettling masks to beg adults for money, candy or fruit.
The now forgotten custom of 'Thanksgiving Masking' was practised by both children and adults in cities all over the country in the late 19th and early 20th century.
It was especially popular in New York City where so many boys and girls dressed as beggars that Thanksgiving Day took on a nickname - Ragamuffin Day.
'Parades of ragamuffins — sometimes called 'fantastics' because of the costumes — can be dated at least to 1891,' historian Carmen Nigro told NPR.
These historical images, taken in New York City circa 1910 to 1915, show children dressed up like adults. Some have their faces painted and others have donned frightening masks.
A band of children taking part in the tradition of Thanksgiving Masking are pictured in costume, with some wearing masks
In the late 19th and early 20th century, Thanksgiving celebrations saw mostly poor children parade through the streets in costume wearing painted faces or unsettling masks
The tradition saw children dressed as adults or boys dressed as girls or vice versa parading through the streets on Thanksgiving Day
It was especially popular in New York City, where so many boys and girls dressed as beggars that Thanksgiving Day took on a nickname - Ragamuffin Day
The now forgotten custom of 'Thanksgiving Masking' was practiced by both children and adults in cities all over the country in the late 19th and early 20th century
One article from The River Press in November 1911 reports the custom is thought to have originated with New York's foreign-born population
One article from the era noted that adults who didn't hand over money might get a child blowing a horn in their ear or find themselves hit with a flour-filled sack
Revelers dressed as 'Fausts, Filipinos, Mephistos, Boers, Uncle Sams, John Bulls, Harlequins, bandits, sailors, soldiers in khaki suits,' the New York Times observed in 1899
So many people took part in the Thanksgiving Masking festivities that the Los Angeles Times reported in 1927 that Thanksgiving was 'the busiest time of the year for the manufacturers of and dealers in masks and false faces'
Some thought the custom of 'dressing in old clothes, many sizes too large, painting their faces or putting on masks' was 'here to stay'
Young children are seen dressed in costumes for Thanksgiving Masking - with one on the right donning an unsettling mask
A young boy is seen carrying a turkey home for Thanksgiving. Turkey, pork, apples, figs and mince pies were traditionally eaten for Thanksgiving at the time
Turkeys are seen on display between 1910 and 1915, a time when Thanksgiving festivities looked a lot like Halloween
When Thanksgiving was known as Ragamuffin Day! Forgotten tradition saw poor children dressed in costumes and spooky masks hit adults with flour filled sacks if they didn't give them money (13 Pics) When Thanksgiving was known as Ragamuffin Day! Forgotten tradition saw poor children dressed in costumes and spooky masks hit adults with flour filled sacks if they didn't give them money (13 Pics) Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 05:59 Rating: 5

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