British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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June 24.]                     midsummer day.                                329
his apple directed him, and took possession for the ensuing year. An adjournment then took place to the house of the overseer of Dolemoors (an officer annually elected from the tenants), where four acres, reserved for the purpose of paying expenses, were let by inch of candle, and the remainder of the day was spent in sociability and hearty mirth.
At Chiltern there is a sport widely practised by the boys, which they call " egg-hopping,'' At the commencement of summer the lads forage the woods in quest of birds' eggs. These, when found, they place on the road at distances apart in proportion to the rarity or abundance of the species of egg. The hopper is then blindfolded, and he endeavours to break as many as he can in a certain number of jumps. The universality of the game, and the existence of various superstitions, combined with their refusal to part with the eggs for money, would warrant a supposition that some superstition is connected with it.—N. & Q. 3rd. S. vol. iv. p. 492.
Old Midsummer Day, says Cole (History of Scalby, 1829, p. 44), is, at-Scalby, a kind of gala time, when the sports, as they are termed, take place, consisting of the most rustic description of amusements, such as donkey-racing, &c., and when booths are erected for the accommodation of the several visitors, and the village presents a motley fair-like appearance.
Co. Cork.
A pilgrimage to the source of the Eiver Lee is one frequently performed by two very different classes of persons—the superstitious and the curious; the first led by a traditional sanctity attached to the place, the latter by the reputed sublimity of its scenery, and a desire of
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