British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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238                                      may DAY.                             [May i.
Berkshire, which see) is sung by the little girls, who go about in parties, carrying garlands from door to door.
The garlands which the girls carry are sometimes large and handsome, and a doll is usually placed in the middle, dressed in white, according to certain traditional regulations. —Illustrated London News, June 6th, 1857, p. 553.
In the village of Randwick, hard by the Stroud cloth-mills, at the appointed daybreak, three cheeses were carried upon a litter, festooned and garlanded with blossoms, down to the churchyard, and rolled thrice mystically round the sacred building; being subsequently carried back in the same way upon the litter in triumphal procession, to be cut up on the village-green and distributed piecemeal among the bystanders. Household Words, 1859,. vol. xix. p. 515.
In this county the children sing the following song as they dance round the Maypole :
" Round the Maypole, trit-trit-trot! See what a Maypole we have got; Fine and gay, Trip away, Happy is our new May-day."— Aunt Judy's Magazine, 1874, No. xcvii. p. 436.
In the village of Burley, one of the most beautiful villages of the New Forest, a maypole is erected, a fete is given to the school-children, and a May-queen is chosen by lot; a floral crown surmounts the pole, and garlands of flowers hang about the shaft.
Hertfordshire .
At Baldock, in former times, the peasantry were accus­tomed to make a"my-lord-and-my-lady" in effigy on the first of May. These figures were constructed of rags, paste­board, old masks, canvas, straw, &c, and were dressed up in the holiday habiliments of their fabricators—"my lady" in the best gown'd, apron, kerchief, and mob cap of the dame,
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