British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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120                             8C0TCH LOCAL CUSTOM.                [MARCH 3.
The first Friday in March is so called from lide, Anglo-Saxon for March. This day is marked by a serio-comic custom of sending a young lad on the highest mound or hillock of the work, and allowing him to sleep there as long as he can ; the length of his siesta being the measure of the afternoon nap for the tinners throughout the ensuing twelve months. The weather which usually characterizes Friday in Lide is, it need scarcely be said, not very conducive to prolonged sleep. In Saxon times labourers were generally allowed their mid-day sleep ; and it has been observed that it is even now permitted to husbandmen in some parts of East Cornwall during a stated portion of the year. Browne appears to allude to this practice in Devonshire, when he says in the third song of his first book, in reference to the song-birds in the woodland :
" Whose pleasing noates the tyred swaine have made To steale a nap at noontide in the shade."
Brand, Pop. Antiq. 1870, vol. i. p. Gt.
March 3.]                         SCOTLAND.
Sinclair, in his Statistical Account of Scotland (1795, vol. xvi. p. 460), says, " At Sandwick the people do no work on the third day of March, in commemoration of the day on which the church of Sandwick was consecrated ; and, as the church was dedicated to St. Peter, they also abstain from working for themselves on St. Peter's day (29th June), but they will work for another person who employs them."
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