What did the holiday season of 1918 look like in the middle of the Spanish flu?

As the horrible 2020 season approaches the holidays, the reduced enthusiasm coincides with that of 1918 during the Spanish flu pandemic when, reportedly on December 21, 1918, the papers issued a warning of a protracted flu pandemic. A warning message from the acting health commissioner in Ohio reportedly said, “Beware of mistletoe,” warning people of social gatherings, including any form of personal. Mostly similar to the current situation.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command sets up sign at Philadelphia Naval Aircraft Factory
Credit: Associated Press

That pandemic, similar to the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, was heating up in the United States, and the winter holidays 102 years ago were largely marked by grief over the loss that followed the deadliest flu wave in the fall. After New Year’s Eve, December 1918 was followed by another rush.

The photograph from November 1918 was provided by the Library of Congress
Credit: Associated Press

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However, according to a New York Times report, national talk of private family gatherings appears to have been less charged in 1918 than in 2020. This followed when millions around the world were exhausted by months of locking up and government restrictions begging them to stay indoors.

A young girl with a sick sister in November 1918.
Credit: Associated Press

The media quoted Alexander Navarro, a medical historian at the University of Michigan and editor of the online flu encyclopedia, as saying that hundreds of thousands of people had lost their friends and families, and therefore, “there really wasn’t much discussion about whether or not they should gather ”. Therefore, most people spent the holidays with an ‘empty chair at the table’. It was the same time that World War I was coming to an end and the soldiers were finally able to return to their homes inviting to the celebration.

A 1918 photo provided by the Library of Congress, volunteer nurses of the American Red Cross tend to get the flu in the Oakland City Auditorium
Credit: Associated Press

The arrival of soldiers also spread the flu

Although the arrival of troops in their country, including domestic and international flights, was one of the causes that further spread the flu, that did not stop the enthusiastic crowd from personally celebrating the Allied victory.

Armistice Day in southern Michigan 1918.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

On Christmas Eve 1918, the New York Times reported on thousands of soldiers who were greeted in the city accompanied by dances and feasts. A 1918 report said, at an event at the 71st Regiment Armory on Manhattan Park Avenue, “in addition to fun and dancing, there will be 300 pounds of chocolate sour cream made by pretty girls, and as many pounds of ice cream cake, mostly which were made by their mothers. “Other celebrations were muted, and Christmas celebrations were limited to people’s homes.

Armistice Day at Pomona College 1918
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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