British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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220                                         may eve.                            [April 30.
When the trees are in bloom, and the meadows are greon, The sweet-smelling cowslips are plain to be seen; The sweet ties of nature, which we plainly do soc, For the baziers are sweet in the morning of May,
All creatures are deem'd, in their station below,
Such comforts of love on each other bestow;
Our flocks they're all folded, and young lambs sweetly do play,
And the baziers are sweet in the morning of May,
So now to conclude with much freedom and love,
The sweetest of blessings proceeds from above;
Let us join in our song that right happy may we be,
For we'll bless with contentment in the morning of May." *
Oliver in his Monumental Antiquities of Great Grimsby (1825, p. 39), speaking of Holm Hill and Abbey Hill, two of the seven hills on which the Br1sth town of Grym-by was situated, says they were united by tn artificial bank, called the Ket Bank, in connection with which he relates the following curious ceremony :—
The great female divinity of the Br1sth Druids was Ket, or Ceridwen; a personification of the Ark of Noah ; the famous Keto of Antiquity, or, in other words Ceres, the patroness of the ancient mysteries. To enter into a full explanation ot these mysteries is unnecessary. Suffice it to say that the aspirant, at the conclusion of the ceremony of initiation, was placed in a small boat, to represent the con­finement of Noah in the Ark;—which boat was a symbol of the helio-arkite deity,—and committed to the waves with directions to gain a proposed point of land, which was to him a shore, not only of safety, but of triumph. On this shore he was received by the hierophant and his attendants, who had placed themselves there for the express purpose, and pronounced a favourite of Ket, by yhom he was now said to be purified with water, and consequently regenerated and purged from all his former defilements. The Abbey Hill was the place where these sacred mysteries were cele­brated, and the designation of this bank fully corroborates the conjecture, for whoever will attentively consider the
* The Cheshire May-song is very similar to this.
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