British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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132                                     PALM SUNDAY.                            MARCH 15,
" That your petitioner being extremely anxious for the dis­continuance of this indecent and absurd practice, applied to the lord of the manor of Broughton for the purpose, who declined entering into any negotiation until the deed should be produced under which the ceremony was instituted, which deed (if it has ever existed) your petitioner is unable to produce.
"That your petitioner subsequently applied to the Bishop of Lincoln to use his influence to prevent the repetition of the ceremony, and offered to guarantee the churchwardens against any loss in consequence of their refusal to permit it.
" That your petitioner believes there are no trustees of a dissenting chapel who would permit the minister or officers of their chapel to sanction such a desecration.
" That the ceremony took place, as usual, on Palm Sunday, in this year.
" Your petitioner therefore prays that your Lordships will be pleased to ascertain from the bishop of the diocese why the ceremony took place; that, if the existing law enables any ecclesiastical persons to prevent it, the law may be here­after enforced ; and that, if the present law is insufficient, a law may be passed enabling the bishop to interfere for the purpose of saving the national Church from scandal.
' And your petitioner will ever pray.''
It is the universal custom, with both rich and poor, to eat figs on this day. On the Saturday previous, the market at Northampton is abundantly supplied with figs, and there are more purchased at this time than throughout the rest of the year; even the charity children, in 6ome places, are regaled with them.
No conjecture is offered as to the origin or purpose of this singular custom. May it not have some reference to Christ's desiring to eat figs the day after his triumphant entrance into Jerusalem ?—Baker, Glossary of Northamptonshire Words and Phrases, 1854, i. p. 232.
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