When a young man entered into a marriage, he hopefully did not go in without a freedom quilt! Freedom quilts were made by the girls a young man was acquainted with, upon the celebration of his twenty-first birthday. Once married, this quilt was added to his bride's dower chest. This type of quilt was put together much like a friendship quilt.
We have to remember that long ago, entertainment and celebrations were limited: Probably due to being so rural (distance-wise), the difficulties of planning a "party" while getting everyday chores done, etc. These events usually lasted all day and evening; perhaps to give the horses time to rest or to make the entertainment worth the time it took for all of the preparations (including the travel time!). It may have even appeared inhospitable to invite guests for just a short period of time.
So, why is it called a "freedom" quilt? Up until his twenty-first birthday, a young man was completely under his parent's thumb. The parents had all authority; even to the point that they could dictate to him where to work, when to work, or what to do with any wages he might earn (even give it all to them for upkeep!). So, when he turned 21, it was very special. He became his own boss, you might say! He had his freedom, legally.
This may seem a strange tradition today, but a freedom quilt was expected to be added to a bride's dower chest. The lack of one might have appeared to show that her groom had uncaring, or no, friends!
Today, freedom quilts have entirely different meanings. One of the most recent is to honor soldiers that have lost their lives fighting terrorism since 09/11/01. This organization was founded by Betty Neilson from Fonda, IA. To show my respect for the events of 09/11/01, I designed a paper-piece pattern of a flag, shown at the top.
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