British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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188                               HOCK, OR HOKE DAY.                    [APRIL 7.
The Scotch have a custom of Hunting the Gowk, as it is termed. This is done by sending silly people upon fools' errands from place to place by means of a letter, in which is written:—
." On the first day of April Hunt the Gowk auother mile."
Brand, Pop. Antiq. 1849, vol. i. p. 140#
April 3.]             ST. RICHARD'S DAY.
Aubrey, in MS. Lansd. 231, says: " This custome is yearly observed at Droitwich, in Worcestershire, where, on the day of St. Richard, they keep holyday, and dresse the well with green boughs and flowers. One yeare in the Presbyterian time it was discontinued in the civil warres, and after that the springe shranke up or dried up for some time; so afterwards they revived their annual custom, not­withstanding the power of the parliament and soldiers, and the salt water returned again and still continues. This St. Richard was a person of great estate in these parts, and a briske young fellow that would ride over hedge and ditch, and at length became a very devout man, and after his decease was canonized for a saint."
April 7.]            HOCK, OR HOKE DAY.
A popular holiday mentioned by Matthew Paris and other ancient writers. It was usually kept on the Tuesday follow­ing the second Sunday after Easter Day, and distinguished by various sportive pastimes, which consisted, according to Spelman, in the men and women binding each other, and especially the women the men, and so was called " Binding Tuesday." Jacob (Law Dictionary, 1797) says that " Hoke-
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