British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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MARCH 20.]                           GOOD FRIDAY.                                       157
h 11, beguile the time with music and dancing. Whatever the origin of this pilgrimage to St. Martha's, it is apparently one that commends itself to the taste of the present generation, and is not likely to die out with the lapse of years, but to increase in popular estimation as long as the green hill lasts to attract the worshippers of natural beauty, or to furnish the mere votaries of pleasure with the excuse and the oppor­tunity for a pleasant holiday.—Times, April 18th, 1870.
At Brighton, on this day, the children in the back streets bring up ropes from the beach. One stands on the pave­ment on one side, and one on the other, while one skips in the middle of the street. Sometimes a pair (a boy and a girl) skip together, and sometimes a great fat bathing-woman will take her place, and skip as merrily as the grandsire danced in Goldsmith's Traveller. They call the day "Long Hope Day." This was done as lately as 1863.—N. & Q. 3rd S. vol. iii. p. 444.
The parish church at Leigh is decked on this day with " funereal yew." The same custom exists also at Bel-broughton in the same county.—N. & Q. 2nd S. vol. i. p. 267.
In East Yorkshire it was customary to keep a hot-cross-bun from one Good Friday to the next, as it was reputed not to turn mouldy, and to protect the house from fire. Presents of eggs and buns are made on this day.—N. & Q. <Lth S. vol. v. p. 595.
At Tenby, as late as the end of the last century, the old people were in the habit of walking barefooted to the church —a custom continued from times prior to the Reformation.
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