British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

A calendar of the traditional customs, practices & rituals of the British Isles.

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Jan. 24.]                       st. Paul's eve.                                   47
parts of Scotland by the mountain peasantry. A number of young lads and lasses meeting together on the eve of St. Agnes, at the hour of twelve, went one by one to a certain cornfield, and threw in some grain, after which they pro­nounced the following rhyme:
" Agnes sweet, and Agnes fair, Hither, hither, now repair; Bonny Agues, let me see The lad who is to marry me.'
The prayer was granted by their favourite saint, and the shadow of the destined bride or bridegroom was seen in a mirror on this very night.—Times Telescope, 1832, p. 15.
Jan. ax.]                  ST. AGNES' DAY.
Since the Reformation, St: Agnes has by degrees lost her consequence in this country as superstition has subsided; though our rural virgins in the north are yet said to practise some singular rites, in keeping " what they call St. Agnes' Fast, for the purpose of discovering their future husbands." —Clavis Calendaria, Brady, 1815, vol. i. p. 170. See Mother Bunch's Closet NetvJy Broke Open, 1825 (?). Anatomy of Melancholy, Burton, 1660, p. 538.
■in 90$
Jan. 24.]                  ST. PAUL'S EVE.
The first red-letter day in the Tinner's Calendar is St. Paul's Pitcher-day, or the Eve of Paul's Tide. It is marked by a very curious and inexplicable custom, not only among tin-streamers, but also in the mixed mining and agricultural town and neighbourhood of Bodmin, and among the sea­faring population of Padstow. The tinner's mode of observ­ing it is as follows:—On the day before the Feast of St. Paul, a water-pitcher is set up at a convenient distance,
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