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Wyandotte County, Kansas




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The Story of Kansas City, Kansas

"Village Fun"

In the winter when it snowed, the young Wyandots went sleigh riding.  They visited their friends and planned dinners and parties at different homes. 

Weddings were fun.  A feast was provided for the guests who came from a distance to attend.  In the evening, after the young couple had gone to their new home, their friends gathered outside the house.  With them they brought everything that would make noise.  They rang bells, beat on pieces of tin, and shouted until the newlyweds appeared at the door and invited them in.  The couple always had a treat ready for the crowd.  Such a party was known as a charivari, pronounced "shiveree," by those who took part in it. 

[Annotation:  Main Entry: shiv·a·ree
Pronunciation: "shi-v-'rE
Function: noun
Etymology: modification of French charivari -- more at CHARIVARI
Date: 1843
: a noisy mock serenade to a newly married couple
- shivaree transitive verb]

When the weather was pleasant, families crossed the river and rode through the woods to Westport Landing or to Westport.  Independence was close enough for a trip.  Factories and railroad tracks have replaced the woods, and Grand Avenue, a main street in Kansas City, Missouri, ends at the landing.

In October, 1848, a party of young men went on a buffalo hunt.  They thought it wonderful sport, and returned with a supply meat for the tribe.  For days everybody feasted on buffalo meat.

The Wyandots observed a holiday known as the Green Corn Feast.  Indians celebrated this feast of thanksgiving long before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock.  Instead of turkey, corn was the main food.  The feast was held on a day early in August to offer thanks to the Great Spirit who had blessed the tribe with food.  Children born since the last celebration were brought before the chiefs and given names.

As late as 1900 the Oklahoma Wyandots by a picnic in the woods, followed by speeches.  Christmas and New Year's Day were festive times, too.

Food for the Wyandots

Return to Index for "The Story of Kansas City, Kansas" by Nellie McGuinn

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Contact the History Webmaster - Patricia Adams

History Site created on December 02, 2002
Page last updated: 02-Jan-2012

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