In the 1920’s people eagerly took up the latest fads and crazes. The fads, for many were ways to forget the
horrific memories of the war, and live a new enjoyable life. No one can really explain how the fads start, but abruptly many
people become engrossed in certain dances, fashion, games, sports, or other activity and do it with great eagerness. Fads
arent one to last long periods of time, and are often dropped as fast as they were picked up.
In the 1920’s most fads that came into Canada were influenced by the United
States. It was the time of the beginning of mass media advertising in North America. Radio broadcasting, newspapers, magazines,
billboards, and movies poured into Canada from the U.S. The Canadians admired fashions from New York, bought American made
appliances (vacuums), and even watched American movies. After some time, many felt uneasy about the American influence that
was on Canadian culture and life. But it was not until the 1930’s when the government stepped in to counter foreign
One of the first fads of the 1920’s was the ancient Chinese game Mahjong. It was a combination of dice and
dominoes. Mahjong caught on rapidly all across North America. Many had Mahjong parties, and imported Chinese robes, furniture,
and decorative objects to create the atmosphere. By 1927, Mahjong was old, a new fad was needed.
This new fad was taken up by the crossword puzzle. After two young American publishers
brought out a book of crosswords with a pencil attached, everyone was wild for crosswords. Dictionaries were being sold by
the thousands, and some railways even provided them to help travellers solve crossword puzzles during their trips.
Long races and contests of every kind also became popular. Non-stop kissing, talking,
laughing, eating, drinking, flagpole sitting, and rocking-chair marathons were most common. People tried to institute records
at these activities.
The biggest rage of all the marathons was dancing. Dancers competed for thousands of dollars. Pairs would drag
themselves around the dance floor with blistered feet and aching backs just to win. One man even dropped dead on the floor
after 87 hours of continual dancing. To keep themselves awake some smelled salts and using ice packs. Some soaked their feet
in vinegar and brine for three weeks, so that they couldn’t feel anything.
|"couple @ Dance Contest"
The fashion world also had many fads within it. For young women at the time, the
“flapper” look was popular. A flapper was a young women who dressed outrageously. In the winter she would wear
galoshes with buckles unfastened to create the greatest possible flap. Hemlines rose above the knees and silk stockings were
rolled down. Their long hair was cut short and set in a “bobbed” style.
Fashions for a young man were often as outrageous. He would wear baggy pants or
knickers, a bright snappy hat, and a bow tie. His hair would be greased down and parted in the middle to imitate the popular
|"Boys and a Girl from 1920"
Although the fashions were the latest thing, they didn’t reflect their day-to-day lives for most Canadian
women and men. The admired from afar those daring and wealthy enough to wear the hottest fashions.