Regency Games

Regency Games

Just three weeks ago, I did my annual migration to Florida for the winter. Having grown up in New Jersey, I should be accustomed to the horrible weather. But I’m not. And, the more time I spend in Florida, the more I love it. Not just the weather, either.

In many ways, my winter life in Florida reminds me of life during the Regency Era.

To begin with, there is a slower pace of life in our rural community outside of Gainesville. Time seems to move slower. People enjoy visiting with each other. Manners are an absolute must. And meals are leisurely gatherings, not just something to be rushed through, with good conversation and discussions. There’s something to be said for that!

After supper, I love to play games. Canasta is a new favorite of mine. I also enjoy Bananagrams (basically Scrabble without the board). Back in New Jersey, the fast speed of the Internet and bazillion channels on the television is far too enticing to my brood and they forego the games. But down in Florida where I have banished the television and our Internet crawls at a snail’s pace, the excuses dry up and games are often the only thing left to do.

See why I love Florida? 🙂

During the Regency period, games were often played after supper, especially during the winter months. Young women might be asked to entertain everyone by singing or playing a musical instrument. Cards might be played if the size of the group permitted it. Something I was unaware of was the love of Regency era people for word games, games that challenged the mind and memory.

Reading was another activity enjoyed by the family after supper. All of us remember the dreadful scene in Pride and Prejudice when Mr. Collins thrilled the Bennets with his reading aloud (sarcasm intended). Elizabeth’s reaction was a far cry different from Marianne’s when Mr. Willoughby read her Shakespeare’s sonnets while she nursed her injured ankle. While I’d love to read aloud to my family, I do believe they would rebel if I suggested it. So, instead, I often curl up with a good book and read, quietly, to myself.

Frankly, I think that, deep down, I’m a Southerner at heart. I enjoy the easy-going nature of life during my seven months at our farm. In many ways, part of my love for this area is the fact that it reminds me of life during Jane Austen’s time. Perhaps not gentry, mind you. I much prefer working in the paddocks and pastures with the horses than sitting inside embroidering linens.

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6 Responses to Regency Games

  1. I’ve always loved games. When I visited my grandparents as a teen, my grandmother and I played canasta for hours. Love the game. Learned Bridge when I got older. Enjoyed scrabble, monopoly, Uno, and several other card games as well. Now, I live alone, and I play computer games. I think games are important for keeping our minds sharp. Thank you for the Regency look at games, Sarah.

  2. Many years ago, we decided to head to Florida after Christmas and spend New Years in warmer weather. We were in a complex full of northern ‘Snow Birds.’ It was so warm and nice, everyone had their doors open and were very friendly. I was cooking our New Year’s tradition… hoppin’ John [sausage, onions, spices and black-eyed peas]… let’s just say I was smelling up the place and drawing a crowd. People started showing up at our door [with a saucer] wondering what delightful thing I was cooking… and would I share a taste. Many didn’t know of the Southern New Year’s traditional dish and seemed to like it. Maybe I helped start a new tradition for them. I never forgot it. Glad you enjoyed your trip with your family.

  3. I love bananagrams! What a fun game! I think reading is nice too depending on the I think there should be more of these kind of traditions.

  4. Growing up at Christmas time we always had extended family round in the evening. We played cards and other games all the time. I’ll never forget those times. You’re post has brought on some lovely old memories. Thank you.

  5. Florida sounds wonderful as going at a slower pace is definitely nice. I grew up in a household that loved games and in particular, card games like canasta. Although my mother and I love to read, no one else liked to and it wasn’t something that was ever done out loud. I wonder if there are many households that carry out this Regency-era tradition.

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