« PreviousContinue »
ignorant and superstitious, in Scotland, are and Romans, and is referred to every where persuaded, that on the eve of All Saints, the in the poets. invisible world has peculiar power; that Martinmas--the feast of St. Martin (No. witches and fairies and ghosts are all ram- vember 11), was anciently a day of great bling abroad ; and that there is no such night festivity: it was the old quarter day, and as in the year for intercourse with spirits, or for it occurred at a period when geese are in obtaining insight into futurity.
high season, the landlords were formerly in We have already alluded to the custom the habit of entertaining their tenants with amongst almost all nations, of employing geese, then only kept by opulent persons. fires and torches in their ceremonies. In In some parts of the continent of Europe, some parts of Scotland, that of lighting fires St. Martin's day is celebrated by a feast of is still followed on Hallowe'en, and is termed goose, as that of St. Michael is in Great a Hallowe'en bleeze. These fires are used Britain. This custom is referred to in va. as means of divination, and are evident re. rious proverbial distichs :mains of Heathenism, apparently of Druidism. In the Orkneys, when the beasts are sick, "Ligna veliit, martatque boves, et lætus ad ignem
Ebra Montin festa Novembaragit the inhabitants sprinkle them with a factitious Ad posten in Sylvani porcos compullit, et ipse water, with which they also sprinkle their Pinguibus inierea vescitur Anseribus." boats, when their fishing does not turn out prosperously: this they do especially on
The vulgar expression, “ My eye and Hallowe'en, and, in addition, place a cross of Betly Martin," seems to be a corruption of
“ Mihi beate Martine''-an invocation to tar upon them—to make them “luck." At this time, too, was held, it was formerly
this saint. believed by the vulgar, a Hallow mass Rade droismess, or Andermess (Noveinber 30), the
On St. Andrew's Day, Andyr's Day, An. --the word Rade (A. S. rail, rade, equitatio, iter equestre), evidently referring to their day dedicated to St. Andrew, the Patron riding, by virtue of their enchantment, to
Saint of Scotland; singed sheep's heads (a these assemblages.
favourite dish with the Scotch), are borne in All Saints Day, Hallowsday, Hallow. the procession before the Scots in London on mass, or Hallowtide (November 1st), the this day.*-(Forster, 674.) festival observed in the Christian Church in
The sixth of December is the festival of conmemoration of all the Saints, was for
St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, merly dedicated by superstition to the angel
in the fourth century, was a saint of the presiding over fruits, seeds, &c., and thence highest virtue, even from his earliest infancy. called in Saxon Lumas ubhal—the day of the He has always been considered the patron of apple fruit : and being pronounced lamasool,
scholars and of youth, the reason of which it has been gradually corrupted to Lambs: has been thus given by the Rev. W. Cole, wool. Lambswool is in Ireland a constant
from a life of St. Nicholas, 3d edition. 4to., ingredient at the entertainments on All Naples, 1645. An Asiatic gentleman, send Saints Day, and is used to designate a com.
ing his two sons to Athens for education, pound, consisting of the pulp of roasted
ordered them to wait on the bishop for his apples, mixed with sugar and nutmeg, the benediction. On arriving at Myra with their relic of the commemoration of the old Mas
baggage, they took up their lodgings at an ubhal.
inn, proposing, as it was too late in the day,
to defer their visit till the morrow; but, in All Souls Day (November 24), is a festival observed in the Romish Church, when prayers effects to himself, killed the young gentle
the meantime, the innkeeper, to secure their are offured up for all departed souls. This ceremony corresponds with the Nexuore and men, cut them into pieces, salted them, and Νεμεσειο, or Νεμεσια, and the Feralia and
intended to sell them for pickled pork. St. Lemuria, or Remuria, of the Romans, in Nicholas being favoured with a sight of these which they sacrificed in honour of the dead ; proceedings in a vision, went to the inn, and offered up prayers and made oblations to reproached the landlord for his crime, who, them. The Feralia was celebrated on the
immediately confessing it, entreated the Saint
The 21st of February, but the Church of Rome
to pray to heaven for his pardon. translated it in her calendar to the first of bishop, moved by his confession and contri. Noveinber. It was Originally designed to procure rest and peace to the souls of the • In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xxiii. departed.
p. 350, we are informed, that to Duddingston parish, The fecling, possessed by the Romans, little more than a mile, many of the opulent citizens
county of Edinburgh, iind distant from Edinburgh a that the manes of their departed friends came resort in the summer monihs to feast upon one of and hovered over their graves, and smiled
the ancient homely dishes of Scotland, for which the upon the humble offerings made to them by sheep's beads, boiled or baked, so common in this
place has been long celebrated. The use of singed the hand of affection, still exists, but more village, is supposed to have arisen from the practice strongly in Catholic countries. The custom of slaughtering the sheep sed on the neighbouring of bedecking the graves with garlands of and leaving the head, &c. "to be consumed in the
hill for the market, removing the carcases to lowni, flowers, was common with both the Greeks place.—(Forster, ibid.)
tion, besought forgiveness for him, and sup- burled like other bishops, in his episcopal plicated restoration of life to the children. ornaments: his obsequies were solemnized Scarcely had he finished, when the pieces re. with much pomp, and a monument was united, and the resuscitated youths threw erected to his memory, with his episcopal themselves from the brine tub at the feet of effigy. About 150 years ago, a Boy Bishop's the bishop: he raised them up, exhorted monument, in stone, was discovered in Salisthem to return thanks to God alone, gave bury cathedral. Not only, however, does them good advice for the regulation of their this ceremony seem to have existed in cathefuture conduct, bestowed his blessing upon drals, but in almost every parish. A statute them, and sent them to Athens, with great of the collegiate church of St. Mary Offery joy, to prosecute their studies. *—(Hone, p. (London), in 1337, restrains one of them 193.)
from going in procession beyond the limits of Hospinian remarks, that it was common, his own parish. On the seventh of Decemon the vigil of St. Nicholas, for parents to ber, 1229, the day following that of St. Niconvey secretly various kinds of presents to cholas, the Boy Bishop, in the chapel at their children, who were taught to believe Heton, near Newcastle-iipon-Tyne, said vesthat they owed them to the kindness of st. pers before Edward I., then on his way to Nicholas and his train, who came in at the Scotland, who made him a considerable prewindows and distributed them. This custom, sent, as well as the boys who sang with him. he says, originated in the legendary account In the reign of Edward III. he received a of that Saint's having given portions to three present of nineteen shillings and sixpence, daughters of a poor citizen, whose necessities for singing before the king, in his private had driven him to an intention of prostituting chamber, on Innocent's Day. Dean Colet, them, and this he effected by throwing à in the statutes of the school founded by him purse filled with money privately at night in in 1512, at St. Paul's, expressly orders, that at the father's bed-chamber window to enable his scholars shall, every Childermass (Innohim to portion them out honestly.
cent's) Day, “ come to Paulis Churche and A singular ceremony connected with this hear the Chylde-Byshop's sermon; and after day, was the election of the Boy Bishop. In be at the hygh masse, and each of them offer many places, the scholars, on the feast of St. a penny to the Chylde-Bishop, and with them Nicholas, were in the habit of electing one the maisters and surveyors of the scole.” of their number to play the Boy Bishop, and Warton affirms that the practice of electing a two others for his deacons. He was escorted Boy Bishop subsisted in common grammar to church, wearing his mitre, by the other schools : for St. Nicholas, as the patron of boys, in solemn procession, where he presided scholars, has a double feast at Eton College, at the worship, and afterwards he and bis where, in the papal times, the scholars (to deacons went about singing from door to door, avoid interfering, as it would scem, with the and collecting money : not begging, but de- Boy Bishop of the college on St. Nicholas's manding it as a subsidy. This seems to Day) elected their Boy Bishop on St. Hugh's have been a very ancient practice. In 1274, Day, in the month of November. Brand, the Council of Nice prohibited the choosing indeed, is of opinion that the anniversary of the Boy Bishop, though so late as the montem at Eton is merely a corruption of the time of Hospinian, who wrote in the 17th Boy Bishop and his companions; the schocentury, it was customary at schools, dedi- lars, by an edict of Henry 8th, being precated to Pope Gregory the Great, who was
vented from continuing that ceremony, gave also a patron of scholars, for one of the boys a new face to their festivity, and began their to be the representative of Gregory on the present pastime at soldiers, and electing a occasion, and to act as bishop, with certain captain. Even within the memory of persons companions as his clergy. Anciently, too, alive when Brand wrote (1777), the montem on this day, the same ceremony was per
was kept a little before Christmas, although formed by the choir boys in cathedrals, whose now held on Whit Tuesday. office and authority continued from the Feast According to Scandinavian mythology, the of St. Nicholas to that of the eve of Inno. supreme God Odin, or Woden, assumes the cent's Day (December 28). At the cathedral name of Nicker, Nikar, or Hnickur, when of Sarum, it appears that the Boy Bishop he acts as the destructive or evil principle; held a kind of visitation, and maintained a (hence our own term, Old Nick, as applied to corresponding state and prerogative, and he is the evil one). In this character he inhabits supposed to have had power to dispose of the lakes and rivers of Scandinavia, where he prebends that fell vacant during his episco- raises sudden storms and tempests, and leads pacy. If he died within the month, he was mankind into destruction. In short, he is
the northern Neptune, or some subordinate In old representations, the bishop is always de. sea-god of noxious disposition. Nikar, with picted with the children 'rising from the tub—the the Scandinavians, being an object of dread, common people, bowever, in Catholic countries, propitiatory worship was offered to him ; and the boys in the tub being considered as sailors in a hence it has been imagined, that the Scandi
navian Nikar became, in the middle ages, St.
Nicholas, the patron of sailors, whose aid is voice his wishes for a merry Christmas anda
The ceremonies which take place in some
countries, on the Vigil of the Nativity, in And all my grateful vows perform
other words on Christmas Eve (December To Neptune's saving power.”—Francis.
24th), and which were formerly general, are, St. Nicholas was also the patron of the as Dr. Forster has remarked, of the most Parish Clerks of London, a set of worthies pleasing character, and serve to amuse in the at one time of much higher importance than dreary season of Mid-winter.f The houses they are at present, from uniting with their and churches bedecked with evergreens, and proper avocations, the performance of Mys- their beautiful berries—the merry carols sung "teries.* They were incorporated into a guild, about the villages--the waits, or night music, or fellowship, by King Henry III., about and the cheerful bells which commence their * 1240; and, for some reason unknown to us, peal at midnight, are naturally calculated to acknowledged the patronage of St. Nicholas. elevate joyously the imagination-an effect
About St. Thomas's Day, (December not a little enhanced by the numerous early 21st), the musical festivities of Christmas recollections of childhood, with which Christtime usually begin in most Christian coun. mas and its festivities are, in the minds of tries—especially that sort of nocturnal street most, connected. music, commonly called waits, or wakes, The vulgar have a great many ridiculous which continue in many parts of England till notions with regard to Christmas Eve; and, Christmas. The pious songs of this period, on this night, observe a number of superusually termed Christmas Carols, are of very stitious ceremonies. It is extensively behigh antiquity. Bishop Taylor remarks, lieved, “frae Maidenkirk to Johnny Groat's," that the Gloria in excelsis, sung by the that if we were to go into a cow-house at angels to the shepherds, at our Saviour's na- twelve o'clock at night, all the cattle would tivity, was the earliest. They have become, be found kneeling. Many also firmly be. within the last century, much less common lieve that bees sing in their hives on Christin England ; but formerly, on Christmas mas Eve, to welcome the approaching day. Day, they took the place of psalms in all the On this evening, women will not venture churches, especially at afternoon service, the to leave any flax or yarn on their wheels, apwhole congregation joining; and, at the end, prehending that the evil one would assuredly it was usual for the clerk to declare in a loud reel it for them before morning. Women, in
a single state, assign another reason for this * Clerkenwell, liistory informs us, is so called, custon their rocks would otherwise follow from the spring there situated, round which the Parish Clerks of London, iu olden time, commonly + Christmas Eve was by the Anglo-Saxons deperformed sacred plays, or mysteries. This custom pominated Myd-wyntres maesse-daeg--Christmas caused the spring to bé denominated Clerk's Well, itself being called Mid-winter, and Mid-wgnires which became subsequently converted into Clerk: macsse-dacg, as they gave the name of Midsummer to enwell, now a populous parish in London.
St. John's Day.
Servite cum Cantico.
The Bore's Head with mustarde.
them to church on their marriage day. If
· The Bore's Heade in bande bring I, any fax be left on the rock, they salt* it, in
With garlandes gay and rosemary,
I pray you all synge merely, order to preserve it from Satanic power, and
Qui estis in convivio. if yarn be accidentally left on a reel, it must not be taken off in the usual way, but be cut
“ The Bure's lead, I understande, oft. The same caution is exercised on Good
Is the chefe servyce in this laude:
Loke wherever it be fande Friday, but a reason is given for this, different from both of those that have already been mentioned :
** Be gladde, Lordes, both more and lasse, :-on this day, it is said, a
For this bath ordayned our stewarde rope could not be found to bind our Saviour To chere you all this Christinasse to the Cross, and the yarn was taken off a woman's wheel for this purpose.
Capul apri defero Of all the periods of the Calendar, none
Reddens laudes Domino." can compare, as regards the variety of mis. cellaneous customs, rites, and antiquities, with In some parts of Scotland, he who first Christmas or Yule--the glorious time of opens the door on Yule day, expects to commemoration to the Christian world for prosper more than any other member of the the birth of a Saviour-originally, however, family during the future year, because, as the Gothic Pagan feast of Yule or Jul, cele. the vulgar express it, “ he lets in Yule.” brated in honour of the sun at the winter The door being opened, it is customary with solstice. t
some to place a table or chair in the door This festival, amongst northern nations, way, covering it with a clean cloth ; and, acwas the great season of sacrifice: amongst cording to their own language, to “set on it the Danes, even human victims seem to have bread and cheese to Yule.” Early in the been offered to their spurious Deities. The morning, as soon as any one of the family Goths used to sacrifice a Boar, for this gets out of bed, a new besom is set behind animal (like the horse amongst the Persians) the outer door-the design being “ to let in was, according to their mythology, sacred to Yule,”_superstitions which are clearly of the sun. To this day it is customary among heathen origin-Yule being not only personi. the peasants of the north of Europe, at the fied but treated as a Deity, and receiving an time of Christmas, to make bread in the offering. It is also common to have a table form of a boar pig. This they place upon a covered in the house from morning until table with bacon and other dishes, and, as a evening, with bread and drink upon it, that good omen, expose it as long as the feast every one who calls may take a portion, and continues. For to leave it uncovered is it is deemed especially ominous, if any one reckoned a bad presage, and totally incon- comes into a house and leaves it without gruous with the manners of their ancestors— participation. Whatever number of persons this bread is called Julagalt. The use that may call on this day, all must partake of the is made in Scotland of the Maiden or last good cheer. A similar superstition prevails: handful of corn that has been cut down in on this subject in the north of England ; harvest, has an analogy to this custom. It is but on New Year's day—it is that of the divided amongst the horses or cows on Christ- first foot the name applied to the person mas morning, and sometimes on that of the who first enters a house in the New Year ; New Year, “ to make them thrive all the this is regarded by the superstitious and year round.” Anciently, the boar's head credulous as influencing the fate of the soused, with a lemon in its mouth, was the family, especially of the fair portion of it, first dislı brought on table on Christmas Day, for the remainder of the year. “To exclude in England, and was carried up with great all suspected or unlucky persons, it is cusstate and solemnity. For this indispensable tomary for one of the damsels to engage beceremony there was a Carol, which is given forehand some favoured youth, who, elated by Wynkyn de Worde as it was sung in his with so signal a mark of female distinction, time, and as, according to Warton, with gladly comes early in the morning, and some alterations, it is still sung in Queen's never empty handed.”—(Brockett, p. 72). College, Oxford.
The following ridiculous rite, similar to “A carol bryngyng in the Bore's Head,
one we have referred to, under the first of
January, also holds in Scotland. Any ser
vant who is supposed to have a due regard to
the interests of the family, and is not at the A particular sanctity has, by many nations, same time emancipated from the yoke of been believed to be lodged ju salt, hence the expres- superstition, is careful to go early to the sion Soos ans, divine salt, by Homer; and reçou acheso well, on Christmas morning, to draw water, holy salt, by ottiers.
Su. G. jul. Dan. jule, juledag. Isl. jol. A. S. pull corn out of the stack, and also to bring geola, &c.
kale from the kitchen garden. This is meant The Greenlanders, to the present day, keep a Sun. to insure prosperity to the family. feast about the 22d of December, to rejoice at the return of the sun and the expected renewal of the
On this day too, as well as on New Year's buuting season. -Crantz's Hist. of Gieenland, i. 176. Day, Ilandsel Monday (the first Monday of the New Year, when it is customary, cspecic of the substantial entertainments of his ancially in the north of England, to make chil- cestors, when, amongst other things, dren and servants a present as a Handsel), and Rood Day, superstitious people in Scot- " They served up salmon, venison and wild boars land, will not allow a coal to be carried out
By hundreds, and by dozens and by scores ;
Hogsheads of bouey, kilderkins of mustard, of their own houses to that of a neighbour, Muttons and fatted beeves and bacon swine'; lest it should be employed for the purposes Herons and bitteros, peacock, swan and bustard, of witchcraft; and the ancient Romans had Teal, millard, pigeous, widgeons and in fine
Plum puddings, pancakes, apple pies, and custard, a similar superstition.
And therewithal they drank good Gascon wine, The custom of saluting the apple trees at With mead and ale, and cyder of our own, Christmas, with a view to their produce an- For porter, puncu and negus were not known." other year, yet exists in the west of England. In some places, the parishioners walk in pro- The Gifts now generally conferred at the cession, visiting the principal orchards in the New Year, seem originally to have belonged parish. In each orchard one tree is selected to Christmas. In London, and in many as the representative of the rest; this is other parts of England and of Europe, the saluted with a certain form of words, having custom of giving Christmas Boxes or Prein them the air of incantation. They then sents, although on the decline, is still a either sprinkle the tree with cyder, or dash a serious tax on large families and establishbowl of cyder against it, to ensure its bearing ments. In some places, it is now confined plentifully the ensuing year.
almost wholly to children. In London, One of the most remarkable of the events Parish Boys and Children at School still at Christmas, is its feasting.
66 The plum
carry about their samples of writing, and ask puddings, minced pies, and a thousand made for their Christmas Box; and the Bellman, dishes of exquisite sorts, such as people in Watchmen, Waits, Bell-ringers, Postmen, common have but once a year, used to be, &c. all over the country, repeat their annual and still are, in some places, brought on the calls on the liberality of their patrons. Of jovial board of hospitality. The Christmas the antiquity of such gifts, we have already dinner usually took place after mass and spoken, at the commencement of this Review; before vespers; and afterwards in the even- we shall therefore merely quote on this subject ing the wassail bowl.* Christmas Carols and a few of the remarks of Dr. Jamieson. merry songs, with various pastimes, jokes, 66 The Romans, at this season, were wont Christmas games, and drolleries, made up to send presents of sweetmeats, such as dried the evening's entertainment, which was figs, honey, &c., to which they gave the heightened by the merry ringing of the bells, name of Strene. This was meant as a good and the mixture of music played both in the omen; and by this substantial emblem, they streets and the houses."-(Forster, p. 732). also expressed their wishes, that their friends
We have already remarked that Yule was might enjoy the sweets of the year on which celebrated as a feast by the ancient Goths. they entered : Rosin. Antiq. p. 29. 250. It
also customary, especially in The custom which prevails in Scotland of Sweden, for different families to meet to- presenting what the vulgar call a sweetie. gether in one village, and to bring meat and skon, or a loaf enriched with raisins, curdrinla with them, for the celebration of the rants, and spiceries, has an evident analogy feast; the same custom was observed when to this. In some of the northern counties there was a general concourse to the place of Scotland, the vulgar would reckon it a bad where one of their temples stood ; and this omen to enter a neighbour's house on New was probably the origin of the custom, still Year's day empty handed. It is common to maintained among us, of relations and friends carry some trifling present; as a bit of feasting at each other's houses at this time. bread, a little meal, or a piece of money. The festivities of Christmas have, however, Those gifts were also called by the Romans passed their zenith ; year after year witness- Saturnalitia. — (Etymological Dictionary, eth their decadency, and the being of the Art. Yule). present day can form but an imperfect idea The Saturnalia amongst the Romans, at
length, lasted seven days; the Sigillaria *Our custom of drinking healths, and the wassail (feasts also in honour of Saturn, and forIntroduction of the British Monarch Vortigern to merly celebrated after the Satumalia, at Rowena--the beautiful blue-eyea daughter, or ac- which little statues of silver were offered to cording to other wriiers, niece of the Saxon Hen. the God), being included. During this seagist. She kneeled down, and, presenting to the king a cup of spiced wine, said, "Lord King, waes heil
, son of festivity and dissipation, all public health to you: to which Vortigern, instructed by business was suspended : the senate and his interpreter, replied. drinc heil, I drink your courts of justice were shut up: and all health, and then, as Robert of Gloucester says,
schools had a vacation--circumstances strik“ Kuste hire and sitte hire adoune and glad dronk ingly resembling our Christmas holidays.
hire heil, And that was tho' in this land the verst was-hail,"
Master and servant sate at one table. Every Was hail afterwards, not unnaturally, because the thing serious was laid aside, and people of name of the drinking cups of the Anglo-Saxons. all ranks gave themselves up to jollity (which