British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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[Feb. 2.
When Yew is out, then Birch comes in,
And many Mowers beside; Both of a fresh and flagrant kinne
To honour Whitsontide.
Green Bushes then, and sweetest Bents,
With cooler Oaken boughs, Come in for comely ornaments
To re-adorn the house.
Thus times do shift; each thing his turne does hold; New things succeed, as former things grow old."
It was at one time customary, in the villages bordering on the Trent, to decorate not only churches but houses with branches of box, and to light up a number of candles in the evening, as being the last day of Christmas rejoicings. "On Candlemas Day throw candles away" is a popular proverb for the following day.Jour. Arch. Assoc. 1853, vol. viii. p. 23L
Feb. 2.]                   CANDLEMAS DAY.
This day, the festival of the ' Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary," is sometimes called Christ's Presentation, the Holiday of SU Simeon, and The Wives9 Feast The ceremony of candle-bearing (which continued in England till it was repealed for its Popish tendency by an order in council in the second year of King Edward VI.) is generally considered to refer to what Simeon said when he took the infant Jesus in his arms, and declared that he was a light to lighten the Gentiles.
Pope Innocent, in a sermon on this festival quoted in Pa-gano Papismus, in reply to the question " Why do we (the Catholics) in this feast carry candles?" says, "Because the Gentiles dedicated the month of February to the infernal gods; and as at the beginning of it Pluto stole Proserpine, and her mother, Ceres, sought her in the night with lighted
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