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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

The Spokesman-Review looked in on the celebrations of various “foreigners” on Christmas Day. 

In the Greek coffeehouses, men drank coffee, smoked and listened to a “wheezy clarinet,” which “warbled forth merrily.” Not far away a group of Austrians (the term for anyone from Eastern Europe) “gathered and sang the Christmas folk songs of their native lands.”

The men stood “with bared heads in a circle, their hands on the shoulders of the man next to them.”

The paper reported “weird sounds” emanating from Trent Alley, the city’s Chinatown, “but they were the sounds of joy rather than strife.”

The reporter noted that “the Chinamen normally celebrate the day in true American fashion, although it is not recognized in their own customs.” This year’s celebration was subdued because many had recently moved from a different section of Trent Alley and they “were barely settled.”

Still, “all along the alley the rattle of ivory chips and dominoes could be heard where the foreigners whiled away the hours, and the click of the pool ball was also in evidence.”

The reporter said the Italians had no set celebration, but spent the day in “family gatherings and merry-making.”

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

A.D. 336: The first recorded celebration of Christmas on Dec. 25 took place in Rome.


Top stories in Spokane

Freeman students march in unity to honor memory of slain classmate Sam Strahan

UPDATED: 9:38 p.m.

Drenched in sunshine and a sharp spring wind, more than 70 students marched Friday out of Freeman High School behind a “Freeman Strong” banner to the same football field where they sheltered in fear last September following the shooting that killed 15-year-old Sam Strahan and injured three girls.