British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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158                                       GOOD FRIDAY.                           [MARCH 20.
Returning home from church they regaled themselves with hot-cross-buns, and having tied a certain number in a bag, they hung them up in the kitchen, where they remained till the next Good Friday for medicinal purposes, the belief being that persons labouring under any disease had only to cat of a bun to be cured.
About this time many young persons would meet together to "make Christ's bed." This was done by gathering a quantity of long reed-leaves from the river, and weaving them into the shape of a man; they then laid the figure on a wooden cross in a retired part of a field or garden, where they left it. This custom is perhaps derived from an old popular popish custom of burying an image of Christ on Good Friday, which is described in Barnabe Googe's trans­lation of Nao-Georgw:
" Another image do they get, like one but newly deade, With leggcs stretcht out at length, and hands upon his body
spreade: And him with pomp and sacred song they beare unto his grave."'
—Mason, Tales and Traditions of Tenby, 1858, p. 19.
In the midland districts of Ireland, viz., the province of Connaught, on Good Friday, it is a common practice with the lower orders of Irish Catholics to prevent their children having any sustenance, even to those at the breast, from twelve o'clock on the previous night to the same hour on Friday, and the fathers and mothers will only take a small piece of dry bread and a draught of water during the day. It is a common sight to see along the roads between the different market towns, numbers of women with their hair dishevelled, barefooted, and in their worst garments: all this is in imitation of Christ's Passion.—Every Day Book, vol. ii. p. 411.
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