30 Fascinating Victorian Traditions We Can't Believe Existed

By Sophia Maddox | March 15, 2024

Victorian Body Modification

The Victorian era was a time of contrarian ideals: They covered themselves completely but fetishized the female figure, they were obsessed with cleanliness but practically lived in a sewer, and they prized marriage and family above all things but sold their wives at auction. It's possible that the Victorians couldn't see the forest for the trees, but maybe they were just a generation full of weirdos.

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(The Plaza Gallery, Los Angeles/Wikimedia Commons)

Despite their prim reputation, the Victorians were one of the first generations of Westerners to embrace tattoos and piercings. Many women were heavily pierced, mostly likely because they enjoyed the way it felt, and people from all walks of Victorian life got inked with the initials of their loved ones or nautical symbols.

We Wish You A Morbid Christmas

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(Collectors Weekly)

Christmas cards in the Victorian era weren't your standard "awkwardly posed family smiling in front of a fake tree." They featured anthropomorphic food, dead animals, and scenes of pure violence, all alongside festive greetings to one's friends and neighbors. At a time when winter could earnestly mean death for any of your loved ones, some gallows humor was necessary.