British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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432                               8T. NICHOLAS' DAY,                          [DEO. 6.
known as "Picrous Day." It is said to be the feast of the discovery of tin by a man named Picrous. It is not at present marked by any distinctive ceremonies, but it is the occasion of a merry-making, and the owner of the tin stream contributes a shilling a man towards it. Mr. T. Q. Couch says his first impression was that the day took its name from the circumstance of a pie forming the piece de resistance of the supper; but this explanation is not allowed by tinners, nor sanctioned by the usages of the feast.—Hunt's Romance* of the West of England, 1871, p. 468.
Dec. 5.]                     ST. NICHOLAS' EVE.
Strtpe, in his Ecclesiastical Memorials (1822, vol. iii. part, u p. 326), says:—" On the 5th December [1554J, the which was St. Nicholas' Eve, at evensong time, came a command­ment that St. Nicholas should not go abroad nor about. But, notwithstanding, it seems, so much were the citizens taken with the mock St. Nicholas, that is, a boy-bishop, that there went about three St. Nicholases in divers parishes, as in St. Andrew's Holborn and St. Nicolas Olave's in Bread Street. The reason the procession of St. Nicholas was forbid was because the Cardinal had this St. Nicholas' Day sent for all the convocation, bishops, and inferior clergy, to come to him to Lambeth, there to be absolved from all their prejudices, schisms, and heresies."
Deo. 6.]               ST. NICHOLAS' DAY.
The Boy-Bishop.
St. Nicholas was deemed the patron of children in general, but much more particularly of all schoolboys, amongst whom the 6th of December (the saint's festival) used to be a very great holiday for more than one reason. In those bygone times all little boys either sang or served about the altar at
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