British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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May 8.]              apparition of st. michael.                      275
On May 2nd, the eye of the Invention of the Holy Cross, it is customary in Aberdeenshire to form crosses of twigs of the rowan-tree and to place them over the doors and windows as a protection against evil spirits.—N. & Q. 3rd S. vol. ii. p. 483.
May 3.]                         The Highlands.
Pennant, in his Tour in Scotland (1790, vol. i. p. Ill) says that a Highlander never begins anything of consequence on the day of the week on which the 3rd of May falls, which he styles La Sheachanna na bleanagh, or the dismal day.
The most remarkable observance of antiquity remaining in this county is the " Furry festival" which has been cele­brated from time immemorial on the 8th of May. At Helston the day used to be ushered in very early in the morning by the music of drums and kettles, and other pleasant sounds, the accompaniments of a song:—
"Robin Hood and Little John,
They both are gone to the fair, O; And we will to the merry greenwood,
To see what they do there, O. And for to chase, O, To chase the buck and doe With Hal-an-tow, Jolly rumble, O.
And we were up as soon as any day, O And for to fetch the summer home,
The summer and the may, O, For the summer is a come, O, And winter is a go, O.
T 2
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