Ragamuffin Day: The Precursor To Halloween That We Totally Forgot About

By | October 18, 2019

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Children all ready for Ragamuffin Day. Source: (Irishcentral.com)

Kids dressed in crazy costumes going door to door begging for treats---it sounds a lot like Halloween, doesn't it? It could be, except for a few notable differences, like the fact that it took place on Thanksgiving morning. We are talking about the long-forgotten Ragamuffin Day, a tradition among the Irish immigrants of New York City that was popular before Halloween's trick-or-treating started.

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Ragamuffin Day began shortly after Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving as an official holiday in 1863. Source: (washingtonexaminer.com)

Ragamuffin Day and Thanksgiving

Ragamuffin Day was born shortly after Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a national holiday in 1863. Young kids suddenly found themselves with a rare weekday off from school, and of course, they decided to use that time for good-natured mischief. Groups of school-aged children, particularly Irish immigrants of New York City, wore costumes and went from house to house, begging strangers for treats. The children wore old and torn clothing as costumes, which gave the tradition its name: Ragamuffin Day.