British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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Oct. 2.]                 goose fair, Nottingham.                        383
says: They observe the festivals of Christmas, Easter, Good Friday, and St. Michael. Upon the latter day, they have a cavalcade in each parish, and several families bake the bread called St. Michael's bannock. Alluding to St. Kilbar village, he observes that they likewise have a general cavalcade on St. Michael's Day, and take a turn round their church. Every family, as soon as the solemnity is over, is accustomed to bake St. Michael's cake; and all strangers, together with those of the family, must eat the bread that night.—Martin's Description of the Western Isles of Scotland, p. 213.
In Ireland, this season is celebrated by the making of the Michaelmas cake. A lady's ring is mixed in the dough, and, when the cake is baked it is cut into sections and distributed to the unmarried people at table, and the person who gets the slice with the ring " is sure to be married before next Michaelmas."—N. & Q. 3rd S. vol. ix. p. 520.
Ocr. 2.]                         GOOSE FAIE.
The origin of this fair arose from the large quantities of geese which were driven up from the fens of Lincolnshire for sale at this fair, which is on the 2nd of October, when geese are just in season. Persons now living can remember seeing fifteen or twenty thousand geese in the market-place, each flock attended by a gooseherd with a crook, which he dexterously threw round the neck of any goose, and brought it out for inspection by the customer. A street on the Lincolnshire side of the town is still called Goosegate, and the flavour of the goose is fully appreciated by the good people of Nottingham, as, on the fair day, one is sure to be found on the table of twenty-nine out of a hundred of the better class of the inhabitants.—N. & Q. 1st &, vol. vi. p. 563. A writer in Jour, of the Arch. Assoc. (1853, vol. viii. p. 236),
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