British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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446                                 CHRISTMAS EVE.                           [Dec. 24.
Day in each year, by the minister and churchwardens, to find among the poor of the said parish of Nevern.—Edwards, Old English Customs and Charities, p. 24.
Dec. 24.]                 CHEISTMAS EYE.
In Chester, and its neighburhood, numerous singers parade the streets and are hospitably entertained with meat and drink at the various houses where they call.—See Book of Days, vol. ii. p. 736.
On Christmas Eve, in former days, says Hunt (Romances of the West of England, 1871, p. 349), the small people, or the spiggans, would meet at the bottom of the deepest mines, and have a midnight mass. In this county the yule log is called " the mock."
In some parts the village choir meet in the church on Christmas Eve, and there wait until midnight, when they proceed from house to house, invariably accompanied by a small keg of ale, singing " Christians awake;" and during the Christmas season they again visit the principal houses in the place, and having played and sung for the evening, and partaken of the Christmas cheer, are presented with a sum of money.—Jour, of the Arch. Assoc. 1852, vol. vii. p. 208.
The ash ton faggot is burned in Devonshire on Christmas Eve. The faggot is composed entirely of ash timber, and the separate sticks or branches are securely bound together with ash bands. The faggot is made as large as can con­veniently be burned in the fire-place, or rather upon the floor, grates not being in use. A numerous company is generally assembled to spend the evening in games and
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