British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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178                                    EASTER MONDAY.                   [MARCH 23.
In the County of Antrim this day is observed by several thousands of the working classes of the town and vicinity of Belfast resorting to the Cave-hill, about three miles distant, where the day is spent in dancing, jumping, run­ning, climbing the rugged rocks, and drinking. Here many a rude brawl takes place, many return home with black eyes, and in some cases with broken bones. Indeed it is with them the greatest holiday of the year, and to not a few it furnishes laughable treats to talk about till the return of the following spring. On this evening a kind of dramatic piece is usually brought forward at the Belfast Theatre, called The Humours of the Cave-hill.The Table Book, p. 507.
Co. Clare.
On Easter Monday multitudes go to Scattery Island for the purpose of performing penance on their bare knees, round the stony beach and holy well there. Tents are generally erected on this occasion, and often times more whisky is taken by the pilgrims than is found convenient on their return in crowded boats.—Mason, Stat. Ace. of Ireland, 1814, vol. ii. p. 459.
Co. Down.
At Holy wood the trundling of eggs, as it is called, is an amusement common at Easter. For this purpose the eggs are boiled hard, and dyed of different colours, and, when they are thus prepared, the sport consists in throwing or trundling them along the ground, especially down a de­clivity, and gathering up the broken fragments to eat them. Formerly it was usual with the women and children to collect in large bodies for this purpose, though nothing can be, to all appearance, more unmeaning than this amusement. They yet pursue it in the vicinity of Belfast. It is a curious circumstance that this sport is practised only by the Presby­terians.—Mason, Stat Ace. of Ireland, 1819, vol. iii, p. 207.
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