British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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1G8                                          EASTER DAY,                          [MARCH 22.
pass the town without being stopped, and, if a horseman, having his spurs taken away, unless redeemed by a little money, which was the only means to get them returned. This seems to bear an affinity to the custom of hocking.
Cole in his Hist of Filey (1828, p. 136) mentions a similar custom as practised in that place. He says, the young men seize the shoes of the females, collecting as many as they can, and, on the following day, the girls retaliate by getting the men's hats, which are to be redeemed on a subsequent evening, when both parties assemble at one of the inns, and partake of a rural repast.—Gent. Mag. 1790, vol. lx. p. 719.
Two farms lying in the township of Swinton, and which belong to Earl Fitzwilliam, every year change their parish. For one year, from Easter Day at twelve at noon till next Easter Day at the same hour, they lie in the parish of Mexbrough, and then till Easter Day following at the same hour, they are in the parish of Wath-upon-Dearne, and so alternately.—Blount's Ancient Tenures of Land.
Easter Day is generally kept in Wales as the Sunday, that is, with much and becoming respect to the sacredness of the day. It is also marked by somewhat better cheer, as a festival, of which lamb is considered as a proper constitu­tional part. In some places, however, after morning prayer, vestiges of the sundry sports and pastimes remain. It is thought necessary to put on some new portion of dress at Easter and unlucky to omit doing so, were it but a new pair of gloves or a ribbon. This idea is evidently derived from the custom of former times, of baptizing at Easter, when the new dress was in some degree symbolical of the new cha­racter assumed by baptism.
The solemnity of Easter (says Bishop Kennett) was anciently observed in Ireland with so great superstition that they thought it lawful to steal all the year, to hoard up provisions against this festival time.—Kennctt MS*
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