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 21"|
EASTER EVE.
159
March si.]                 EASTER EVE.
On Easter Eve it was customary in our own country to light in the churches what was called the Paschal Taper. In Coates's History of Beading (1802, p. 131) is the follow≠ing extract from the Churchwarden's accounts: " Paid for makynge of the Paschall and the Funte Taper, 5s. 8d." A note on this observes, " The Pascal taper was usually very large. In 1557 the Pascal taper for the Abbey Church of Westminster was 300 pounds weight."óBrand, Pop. Antiq., 1849, vol. i. p. 158.
On the eves of Easter and Whitsunday Font-hallowing was one of the very many ceremonies in early times. The writer of a MS. volume of Homilies in the Harle'an Library, No. 2371, Says, "in the begynning of holy chirch, all the children weren kept to be chrystened on thys even, at the font-hallowyng; but now, for enchesone that in so longabydynge they might dye without chrystendome, therefore holi chirch ordeynetli to chrysten in all tymes of the yeare, save eyght dayes before these evenys the chylde shalle abyde till the font-hallowing, if it may safely for perill of death, and ells not."
Cumberland, etc.
In Cumberland and Westmoreland, and other parts of the north of England, boys beg, on Easter Eve, eggs to play with, and beggars ask for them to eat. These eggs are hardened by boiling, and tinged with the juice of herbs, broom-flowers, &c. The eggs being thus prepared, the boys go out and play with them in the fields; rolling them up and and down like bowls upon the ground, or throwing them up like balls into the air.óBrand, Pop. Antiq. 1849, voL i. p. 172.
Dorsetshire,
During the last century it was customary in this county, on Easter Eve, for the boys to form a procession bearing
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